Chacombe: The sweet tone of the Bagley Bells



Research into the seemingly oddly named Silver Street in Chacombe led me to discover stories of Henry Bagley and his boys who cast church bells at a local foundry located at the top of Silver Street in the village of Chacombe between 1605 and 1785.  441 bells in churches and cathedrals are listed as being cast by the Bagley family.  The bells were richly decorated with patterns, motifs and text including bells at Chacombe  inscribed ‘ring tunefully and you shall have as much beer as is good for you’ and ‘I ring to sermon with a lusty tone that all may come and none may stay at home’.

The metal for the foundry was transported to Banbury by canal and then by wagon to the village.  Allegedly women of the village would throw their silver jewellery in with the molten metal at the very moment the bells were being cast believing this additive would impart an exceptionally sweet tone to the bells!



  1. I would never have made the association with Silver Street and bell casting. It’s interesting how much industry actually occurred within these small communities. My very first village visit was to Easton-on-the-Hill – and I have since discovered that in 1860 a fur factory was established in Church Street – after 30 years it moved to Porter’s Lane and this was subsequently renamed Factory Road (a more obvious connection than your romantic Silver Street!). It functioned until 1957, processing rabbit skins for the making of fur garments, top hats etc and employed 7 men and 36 women. Mary Bennett a resident remembers ‘there was always a smell that hung around the old rabbit skin factory, but it provided a lot of employment for the men who caught rabbits, but for many women too. A number came up by bus from Stamford everyday…’ although Stamford is only 2.5 miles away – in the late 1800s this type of work provision for women would have been rare in the countryside and ‘must have been of considerable social and economic value’ S and E Miles ed., 1996, Easton-on-the-Hill Village Appraisal. I like the idea of exploring other street names; interestingly in one of the last visits on my walk section that I haven’t posted yet, I have focussed on a not dissimilar theme… there seem to be lots off cross overs appearing now between our individual research.


  2. I forgot to mention in the previous comment, that it is also interesting that the reference to the canal network has resurfaced, whilst in my section of the walk the emphasis is on the railway as the main mode of transportation.


  3. The importance of canals and railways emerged again today within first research about the latter stages if the south section of the walk. Both are referenced as having a direct impact on growth and decline of villages and their communities


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