The bells of Brindle St Joseph's

The old bell (currently in the cellar of the Presbytery)


The Brindle bell cast in Preston is of historical value in that the 1828 Brindle bell and the 1828 Chipping bell appear to be the oldest bells cast for an RC Church anywhere in England; it is only one of a small number of bells from the Canal foundry known to exist.

The bell is the earliest known to have been cast at the J Lindsay & Co Canal foundry in Preston. The company later turned into Stevenson and Co, Canal Foundry, Preston in the 1830s.

There is a later bell cast at the Canal foundry in 1841 by Stevenson & Co that hangs at St Paul, Withnell. Of three more bells cast at Canal foundry but by Stevenson & Co, the two for Leyland Parish Church cast in 1835 as part of a peal of bell, were destroyed in 1929 when a new peal of ten bells was supplied.

Another bell from the Canal foundry cast by Stevenson & Co was discovered in Rothesey, Isle of Bute, Scotland, about 20 years ago and it was hanging in a disused Church. Nobody has recently been able to find out what happened to the Church or the bell.

The Brindle bell is made of brass and with a diameter of circa 15" will weigh around three quarters of a cwt.

The UK's leading bell historians all agree that the bell is an excellent historical find. With the discovery of the Brindle bell cast at Canal foundry, the question is being raised that perhaps there was a proper bell foundry in Preston the three previous known bells were assumed to be "one offs" and the Brindle bell is the earliest of the four or so known Canal foundry bells.

The bell historians are now rethinking that there may well have been a proper bell foundry in Preston. The two larger Canal foundry bells from Leyland survived one restoration until the complete peal was recast in 1929 by Gillett and Johnston of Croydon, so the technology to cast bells of the correct shape etc was in existence at the Canal foundry.

The two Leyland bells were retuned along with the others in the peal by John Taylor of Loughborough, so they must have been quite reasonable. The Withnell bell cast at Canal foundry is of fair tone. The bell in Scotland is not thought to exist anymore.

The current bell

The details of the current Brindle bell that is in use are: Cast in 1932 by John Taylor and Co, Loughborough, weight 5 cwts, 1 quarter & 11 lbs and sounds the note of E flat.

Alan Birnie with contributions from John Greenhough, Chris Pickford & George Dawson.