The church of St Peter’s nestles in a hollow, hidden away down a lane. The churchyard is a beautiful and peaceful place to sit, particularly on a sunny day looking at the surrounding hills and listening to the church bells.
The West Tower which houses our bells measures 11¾ft by 10¾ft and is of early 15th century date. Three storeys high, with a plain parapet and gargoyles. The tower-arch is teo-centered and of two chamfered orders, the outer continuous and the inner springing from semi-octagonal shafts with moulded capitals. The West window is of two trefoiled lights with tracery in a two centred head with a label and head-stops; the West doorway has moulded jambs and four-centred head. The second storey has a single square-headed light in the West wall. The bell-chamber has in each wall, a window of two trefoiled lights and blind tracery in a square head with a label.
The tower has five bells at present. In a survey carried out around 1861 it shows four bells only. The 3rd bell was present (which was then the 2nd) and the tenor bell. Two bells cast in 1603 and 1661 made up the ring. In a survey published in 1952 it shows four bells again. The 2nd had now become the treble and the tenor the third. The two other bells were from 1627 and 1661. These two bells had disappeared by the 1960’s and the ring is now as described as the following:
The treble weighs 4cwt 1qr 4lbs with a rim diameter of 27.38″. The bell was cast in 1961 by John Taylor & Co., Loughborough.
The 2nd bell weighs 5cwt 24lb with a rim diameter of 29.88″. This bell was also cast in 1961 by John Taylor & Co., Loughborough.
The 3rd bell weighs 7cwt 4lb with a rim diameter of 33.50″. This is a very handsome bell and was cast by Richard Purdue in 1627. It has on the side, encompassed with two borders one within the other, respectively consisting of fleurs de lis, and the vine leaves and fruit, the achievement of King Charles I – 1 and 4, France and England quarterly, 2 Scotland, 3 Ireland, within the garter bearing the motto of the order. At the bottom is the royal motto. This bell also bears R. P. Anno Domini 1627, and the initials H. D. on each side of a scallop shell. It is listed by the Council for the Care of Churches for preservation.
The 4th weighs 7cwt 5lbs with a rim diameter of 35.25″. The bell was cast in 1623 by George Purdue.
The tenor bell weighs 8cwt 2qr 9lbs with a rim diameter of 36.63″. The bell was cast in 1726 by William Knight.
Legend has it that Long Bredy was once the proud processor of a fifteenth century bell. Work on the bells necessitated their being bought down and left in the churchyard. This bell was carried off in a wheelbarrow by the folk of neighbouring Litton Cheney and installed in their church belfry. The bell in question weighs just over 11cwt so perhaps a horse and cart was used as opposed to a wheelbarrow!! Historical records show that a bell was taken from Long Bredy to Litton Cheney but it says it was “probably” sold by the churchwardens!
Information taken from: The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset Volume II by John Hutchins. Published by E.P Publishing Ltd in collaboration with Dorset County Library 1973. Originally published by J.B. Nichols and Sons, Westminster 1863.
Dove’s Guide for Church Bell Ringers
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset Vol I – West ANNO DNI M. C. M. L. I. I.. Published 1952.