Robert Wells


Robert Wells, Mid to late 1700’s, England.  This is a 1 octave, diatonic set (+1 bell, see below) in C of raw castings.  Wells bells are easy to identify because the initials “RW,” and sometimes more of his last name is cast in relief inside the bell.  Don’t let the Taylor handguard on the E5 fool you – it was added after!  Since they are not finished there are no clappers or handles, but picture #2 shows a cast ring, and picture #3 shows the ring has been broken off so it can be drilled to accept the clapper assembly.  The bell lying down is the Bridgeman (described below) and was acquired later.

Wells/Bridgeman.  This additional bell turned out to be quite a curiosity!  The “RW,” faint, but still visible, was filed down and the initials “IB,” although filed down somewhat, can be seen on the opposite side on the inside of the casting.  Please consult p.64 of William Butler’s book, “Musical Handbells” for the whole story!  There are lathe marks on the outside, and many file marks from tuning inside the casting.  This is a finished bell, but there are no markings on the leather handle or handguard.