The Bellcage, East Bergholt Church

by Renae

The cage, standing at the side of the church, was built in 1531 to house the bells originally intended for the church tower. It is unique in that the bells, on of which is dated 1450, are rung by swinging the wooden headstocks. Kerstin adds even more history: “Apparently the tower, which was never finished and is just a stump at the west end of the church, was being paid for by the famous Cardinal Wolsey personally. But when Wolsey died disgraced in November, 1530, Henry VIII confiscated his entire property and fortune for the crown, so no more money was forthcoming and building work stopped. The bells were ‘temporarily’ housed in the wooden bellcage the following year, 1531. But no one every finished the tower, so that’s where they remain to this day. The bells are rung by swinging them in a pit that was dug underneath them, by their headstocks.” Now THAT makes this postcard come alive!

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