Saturday, 3 January 2015

Item:for bell tolling at Bromley 5 shillings

As I have transcribed the Dunn's funeral accounts from 1803 onwards the fee for tolling at the parish church remains consistent even when the burial is in another parish.
The Dunn family had two considerable advantages in conducting funerals as their business premises on the North side of Market square were large enough to stable hoarses and accommodate a hearse. When building work to the Dunn premises was carried out in the early years of the twentieth century a stone marked for John Dunn was dated 1710 and therefore the surviving funeral accounts from 1803 are those of a well established business in the town which had provided drapery and furniture for townsfolk and the large households of the district. As upholders the Dunns therefore had a clientele who were established customers and since William Dunn's appointment as Vestry Clerk in 1721 one of the family had served as parish clerk or churchwarden continuously. William died in 1801 as did John Dunn 1735-1801.John Dunn 1765-1817 and Edward Dunn 1774-1830  were engaged in the business covered in the early funeral account years. I will blog in future about the funeral customs observed at Bromley.
The tolling of bells at time of burial had been restored and if the 5 shilling fee seems considerable reflect on what was involved at Bromley.
The peal of 8 bells dated from 1773 when the Parish Vestry records paying Thomas Janaway to recast the 5 bells dated from the 16th century to form 8. For a funeral or burial the bell was not rung in the traditional way by pulling the rope and revolving the bell but the "teller" would involve leaving the bell stationary and moving to hit the required number of times.
To begin the bell would be tolled to indicate whether a child (three) woman (six) or man (nine) after a pause, then the age would be tolled often abbreviated into ten pause and number of years so that 69 years would be 6 pause then 9.
The fee charged would be shared between parish and lead ringer who would also be offered refreshments. Since the clergy at Bromley and clerk and sexton were attired for the funeral the ringers would occupy the tower.
The evidence of Dunn funeral accounts is that their services would be required on certain days more than once.
The Bromley tower was used regularly for celebratory peals as well as at many weddings. Presumably a similar fee would be expected.