Welcome to the Bell Founders Database

Bells in a workshop I have been doing the 'field work' surveying bells in the county of Cheshire for a number of years, with the intention of publishing a new 'Bells of Cheshire' book. I thought that it would not be worthwhile to reiterate the history of the founders who are represented in Cheshire, hence the idea of this database was conceived, so that research was not duplicated.

David Struckett in his 'Dictionary of Campanology', published in 1985, produced the last list of founders. Since then there have been many new 'County' books published which add to our knowledge and the very active Bell Historians Internet group which was set up in 2002 increases our knowledge on the history and archaeology of bells on a regular basis.

Bell being tuned I claim little credit for the work, merely drawing a lot of published data together in one place, which I will hopefully be able to maintain. The original data was for bell founders whose work is represented in this country, but has now expanded to include other founders in the world – this is not complete.

There is a very simplistic approach to searching by initials, merely taking the first name and surname. More work is needed on the 'Preceded by...' and 'Succeeded by...' data and a future development could include a link to a file containing examples of the founders' marks?

All sources are identified and an attempt has been made to reconcile this data with the pNBR in 'Dove's Guide'. I have also included an example of where the work of a particular founder will be found – this refers to the relevant Diocese in George Dawson's National Bell Register.

I hope that Bell Historians may wish to share some of their unpublished data, in the form of amendments? Any such data will be acknowledged, but I would respectfully ask for the origin of the data to be provided. I know that bells can be attributed by name to a particular founder and they were actually cast by somebody else. I have tried to reflect this in the notes; there are instances where bells continued to bear the name of a founder after his death!

I am grateful to Chris Pickford, George Dawson and Bill Hibbert who have looked at my work and made valuable suggestions, but the content is mine, E&OE! My thanks go to my son, Matt, who has turned this into a very searchable database.

Peter Dyson