The original Bells of Luppitt Church: An Extract from the book 'Luppitt: Parish, Church and People'
" Before we leave this mid-sixteenth century period, we must again turn our attention to our parish church, because Miss Cresswell informs us that:
In 1553 the Church goods commissioners reported at Luppitt: "Luppytt iiij belles in the towre theire".
Three of these four are still in our tower today, and excellent castings they are. The two 'Jesus' bells were referred to earlier, so named because of the same inscription on each of them "Est michi collatum ihe istud nomen amatum" which was been interpreted as "There has been bestowed on me that blessed name Jesus"; and also our tenor bell - the largest and heaviest - which carries the inscription, "Ave Maria Gracia Plenia".
As is often the case, the tenor bell has the name of the saint to whom the Church is dedicated. We have no information about the other of these 1553 four, as the one with the ring of four here in 1928 bears a casting date of 1774. There is the possibility that it became cracked and had to be recast, but we shall probably never know for certain.
It is reckoned that the older two bells were cast by Robert Norton of Exeter or one of his successors, and that the tenor bell was cast by Roger Semson of Aish Priors, near Taunton; the inscription on it bears his name, but the letters have been cast in reverse, which has prompted the comment 'an illiterate but excellent bell founder' and that the 1774 bell was cast by Thomas Wroth of Wellington, Somerset.
In May 1984, scaffold was erected in order the rebuild the South West tower buttress, and to do some repair pointing to the south face and the staircase walls, and from the top stage of this scaffold it was easy to see the letters 'TW' neatly cut into the sandstone surround of the louvered bell chamber window on the left side and about half way up. One can only speculate, I wonder, were these cut by Thomas Wroth at the time when his bell was put into this tower and why on the outside? Could this indicate that the bell was taken in through this window opening instead of up through the trap-doors inside as we have more recently done?
Again cut into the doorway leading from the internal staircase to the first chamber, used in times past as the ringing chamber, are the initials and date as follows:
There is no indication as to whose initials might have been so cut, nor of what they might have been doing at this time. "
© 2000 - J. Sage