Holy Trinity, Meldreth: the Tower

The fine western arch of the nave leads into the tower, the lower two stages of which belong to the latter part of the 12th century, the upper stage to the 13th century, though this has been much renewed, together with the crenellated parapet. There are one or two timbers which must be original as they are embedded in the stonework at both ends. The wooden roof of the tower is probably of 15th century date and its weight and form suggest that it once supported, or was intended to support, a short wooden spire. This conjecture is supported by the evidence of a sketch dated 1743.

Inside the tower are still kept two thatching hooks. An entry in the Constable’s account for 1723 records the purchase of two fire-hooks from Thomas Barber, Smith. The church provided a central location in which to keep these large hooks for ripping off thatch when cottages caught fire.

The impressive ladder leading up to the ringing chamber was made by Benjamin Hale and is dated 1863.

The church has a fine set of bells in good order, thanks in large part to John Gipson. The oldest bell is dated 1617 and bears an inscription: ‘Non sono animabus mortuorum sed auribus vivencium’ [‘I sound not for the souls of the dead but for the ears of the living’].  Two of the bells date from 1855, one from 1950, two from 1967 and the most recent two, given by John Gipson, from 1968. A new bell frame was installed in 1937. In April 2015 all of the bells were removed from the tower and were sent to the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London for restoration.  A new steel frame was installed in the tower and the bells were installed in August 2015.

The clock was made by Gillett and Bland and was installed in 1880. Further (unspecified) expenses were incurred in 1892 when an entertainment was held to raise funds [Meldreth Parish Room minutes for Nov 23rd]

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