Lichfield’s historic Tantony bell rings again
Lichfield district has welcomed back a key element to its historic centre of worship, Lichfield Cathedral, as the restored Tantony bell rings in the tower again.
The Tantony bell is believed to have been cast around the year 1500 and was likely installed in Lichfield Cathedral during the post English Civil War restoration by Bishop John Hacket, around 1666-1667.
After many years of daily use, the 500-year-old bell was in need of extensive repair along with the fittings that suspended it in the central tower. The cathedral took action and called upon Taylor’s Foundry in Loughborough for the restoration to save an iconic piece of the city’s rich history.
In January 2022, the bell was returned to the cathedral, and visitors can now see it in its proper place in the central tower.
Jonathan Townsend, Assistant Clerk of Works at Lichfield Cathedral said:
“It has been a privilege to be involved in the project to refurbish the bell and its fittings, for me it is a tangible link to the past – just think how many people have heard this very bell ringing since its installation here c.1667, some 42 years before Samuel Johnson was born in the city within earshot of the bell. It also represents a link to the ASCY, I am member number 8278 and feel proud to see the bell return to the cathedral where a fellow Society member heard and perhaps even rang this bell 355 years ago.”
As well as the rich past of the Tantony bell at the Cathedral, Lichfield has connections with some of Britain’s most influential historical figures.
Its leading attractions include the stunning Georgian home of Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles Darwin and founding member of the Lunar Society of Birmingham - the main intellectual powerhouse of England's Industrial Revolution. Lichfield was home to Samuel Johnson, famous for writing ‘A Dictionary of the English Language’ in 1755, for the first 27 years of his life.
Just north of Birmingham, Lichfield welcomes more than 2.5 million visitors each year. The popular destination is also known for its beautiful Beacon Park, the National Memorial Arboretum, Lichfield Garrick Theatre, Samuel Johnson Birthplace Trust, Erasmus Darwin House, along with the many independent retailers and eateries.
Cllr Iain Eadie, Lichfield District Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet member commented:
“I’m sure that many of our residents and visitors will be thrilled to see the Tantony bell restored. The bell represents a key piece in Lichfield’s rich tapestry of culture and history and undoubtedly adds to the draw of our stunning cathedral.
“The restoration is a prime example of how we’re investing in preserving key architecture and points of interest in Lichfield. This city has so much to offer in terms of historical interest, including strong links to notable figures in science and the arts, and stunning outdoor spaces. We’re pleased to now be able to introduce visitors to another thought-provoking reminder of our past.”
The Tantony bell is available for visitors to view during usual visiting hours (see the website: https://www.lichfield-cathedral.org/ for the latest information) and for further information on what Lichfield is offering at the cathedral and at many of its other wonderful attractions and landmarks visit: https://www.visitlichfield.co.uk/