The first record of bells at Shotwick is in 1549-1550 when the tower contained a ring of three bells.
In 1610-1611 the second bell was recast by an unknown founder and this extract from the proceedings of the Consistory Court in 1629 explains what happened:
“Wee present Richard Chamberlain th’elder for taking away and not accompting to the parish in his time for 32 pounds ofBellmetal (being worth xxiijs.) when he was church warden.
Richard Chamberlain Senior of Gt. Saughall saith that 18 or 19 years ago, hee being Churchwarden of Shotwick, a bell viz. the middle bell being cast, he agreed with one to cast the same & saith that after it was cast and came to the church it was not tuneable, and then he did hewe the same thinner & did take out mettle which he caused to be weighed by one John Caldey who said it was 30 li or thereabouts which mettle after it was weigh’d he delivered to Robt. Carter the Parishe Clarke of the said P’ishe for the use of the P’ishe.”
In 1616 the tenor was recast by William Clibury of Wellington in Shropshire. The second bell was recast in 1621, probably by William Clibury, and both these bells are of very good quality with fine lettering and ornamentation. The treble was recast by John Scott of Wigan in 1664, but unfortunately this bell was of poorer quality. The diameter was 31½˝ and the inscription read:
GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO CW WD IB 1664
In 1728 the tenor fell from its bearings and the clock hammer was subsequently moved to another bell. As the tenor was not damaged in the fall it probably became wedged in the frame. In 1731 the church agreed to have the bells re-hung in a new frame by Barnes, a Neston carpenter, although his price of £24.2s. was questioned when it was discovered that Burton had had a frame and headstocks made for five bells for only “12 or 14 pounds more.” The frame made by Barnes was a fine piece of work, although the hanging was not so good.
About 1850 John Owen visited Shotwick church and wrote:
“The bells are rung from the basement and on the south wall are painted in black letters the rules to be observed by the ringers and dated 1684. It is of the usual kind, ending with:
'These laws are old, they are not new, The Clerk and Sexton must have their due.'
Unfortunately these rules have now disappeared.
By 1938 the only bell in use was the treble, which was rung by means of a rope attached to the clapper. In that year the Rev. F. R.Wansbrough,Vicar of Shotwick, died, and in his will he left a legacy to the church. Some of this money was used to augment the ring of three bells to a ring of six, and the work was entrusted to Taylors. When they inspected the existing bells they found that the treble had been cracked due to clocking, and in view of its age and the fact that not many of John Scott’s bells remained it was decided not to recast it. The bell was initially placed in the north aisle on a platform made from the oak of the old frame, but later it was moved to the base of the tower where it remained until it was stolen from the church in 2010.
The second bell and tenor of the ring of three were found to be in good condition and were rehung with four new bells to form the present ring of six. Details of the bells are as follows:
Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 bear the inscription:
+D.D.F.R.WANSBROUGH+FECIT TAYLOR MCMXXXVIII+
No. 5 bears the inscription:
+GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO 1621
No. 6 bears the inscription:
+JESUS BE OUR SPEED 1616