The Old Bell
St Mary’s Church Of Ireland Ardee.
The old bell in St Mary’s Church of Ireland Ardee the sound of which had not been heard since 1949 because of the poor condition of its supports we removed the wooden supports and replaced them to get the bell in working order again. I would like to quote the following courtesy of Fred Dukes who is the author of the book “Campanology in Ireland”.
The bell is 39 inchs in diameter which would indicate its weight to be about 11 Cwts. and standard bells of that size and weight are tuned to sound the normal note G. The bell is inscribed around the inscription band – W. Curtis and Sons Dublin but no date is given. William Curtis took over the then famous Irish Bell Foundry of Hodger in Abbey Street Dublin about 1865 and was in business and advertising periodicals of the period 1876 when there was a gap until 1904 when the last recorded note of his existence appeared. This would fit reasonably correct the period during which the Bell was cast, that is between 1865 and 1876. However in the “Armagh Clergy and Parishes” by J. B. Lesile a note appears that the present bell was provided through the magnificence of William Hatch of Ardee Castle for the church of Ardee in AD 1868.
In 1949 when I first saw the Bell it had a wooden headstock, frame, whole wooden wheel and plain hinges. The bell itself was loose on the headstock and I have noted that I drew the then sexton’s attention to the fact.
The Curtis Foundry annually cast an inserted shamrock type crest and on the waist and one appears on your bell as well as a Harp on the oppisite of the bell waist.
After I decommissioned this bell, another bell which came from Stabannon dated 1777 was used to call worshipers to service. The bell was known as the “Hurry Bell”. When the two bells were in use the large bell was rung first and then about two minutes before service time the small bell or as it was called the “Hurry Bell” was rung and people would know that they were late for worship.