I have been looking at the weekly news articles that were published by former Museum Curator, Martin Matthews. The series of articles were called “Bygone Days” and could be found in the West Briton newspaper for several years starting from 2003. He has written a total of 105 articles, all about different local topics such as, St Piran’s Day, Helston Band and William Penaluna.
The article that I liked in particular was number 65, which is about St Michael’s Church bells, which links nicely with our upcoming exhibition in collaboration with St Michael’s Church, ‘Love, Life and Loss’ funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
In this article Martin delves into the history of St Michael’s and how it has existed since the early 13th century. According to Martin Matthews, the church was a mark to fishermen at sea because the steeple was about 90 feet tall.
Another interesting fact that I discovered from the article was that when the new church was built, which opened on October 18th 1761 it was around £6000 to build and Francis Earl of Godolphin covered the entirety of the cost. The new tower didn’t have any bells until the death of the Earl. In his will he instructed for six bells to be installed in the tower.
This is an extract from Martin’s article in which he talks about the timeline of the church bells: “The tenor bell weighing 17 hundred weight was inscribed: ‘These bells were the gift of the Right Honourable Frances Lord Godolphin Anno 1767. Hugh Rogers Esq Mayor’ and a verse declaring that when the bells were rung the hills and velleys around would echo the praise of the benefactor and that God or King. The bells were recast in 1825, the work being undertaken by the Copperhouse Foundry in Hayle, each bore the date 1825. Two additional bells were added in 1904 and the other six were again recast. The work was undertakedn by Taylor of Loghbourough. This then completed the octave. Each bell bears the date 1904 and the names of the church wardens at that time. It is interesting to note that the nearest public house to St Michael’s Church during those early years was given the name: The Six Bells Inn”
I have really enjoyed reading through Martin’s old news articles, as they are really informative. I have discovered a lot of things which I did not know previously to reading the articles, for example it is a tradition in Cornwall to light bonfires in mid June to celebrate the pagan tradition called Midsummer Eve.
Customer Service Apprentice.