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Boston Bells

Sketch drawing of bell
Made in Gloucester: The oldest bells in North America
Last updated: 24 March 2005 1325 GMT
lineThe oldest bells in North America are more than 260 years old, and were made here in Gloucestershire.
(March 2005)
Audio

Listen to Don Morrison interviewed about the bells on BBC Radio Gloucestershire

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Old North Church

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A sound made in Gloucestershire is ringing out across Boston, Massachusetts.

The state capital's oldest church is celebrating the 260th Anniversary of its bells which were cast in Gloucester back in the 18th Century, and which were at the heart of America's war of independence.

Old North Church
Old North Church, Boston

The bells at the Old North Church in Boston are believed to be the oldest in North America.

They were cast in Gloucester in 1744 at the Rudhall's Foundry - a company which made bells that still hang in church towers across Gloucestershire.

The Gloucester bells were added in 1745.

History

Don Morrison, the bell master at Boston's Old North Church, told BBC Gloucestershire he has evidence proving their history.

"One document shows the bells were brought over from England in a sailing ship," he said.

"They were actually brought for free because they were very good ballast, being very dense, and could just ride in the bottom of the ship."

Crucial role

The bell tower played a crucial role in the American war of independence warning of the British troops advance. A coded signal was arranged. One lantern in the Old North tower meant they were coming by land. Two lanterns meant they were coming by sea.

The Gloucester bells were rung by one of the great heroes of American history. Paul Revere rode through the night to warn American troops in Concord that the British were advancing overland from Boston.

Restored

By the second half of the 19th Century the bells had fallen into a state of disrepair and were restored about a hundred years ago.

They were restored again in the 1970s and have been rung regularly ever since.

AUDIO
Listen to Don Morrison interviewed about
the bells on BBC Radio Gloucestershire

To listen to audio content on the BBC you will need to have a program called RealPlayer installed on your computer. Download it for FREE by clicking here

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