Adam Shepherd is selling a set of handbells. There are 21 bells in total, consisting of a diatonic 17 with a 19F tenor, and four additional bells. There's an impressive choice of rings: a sixteen, a fourteen, three different twelves (tenors 19F, 18G and 15C), four different tens (tenors 19F, 18G, 15C, 12F), five different eights (tenors 19F, 18G, 15C, 14D, 12F) and seven different sixes (tenors 19F, 18G, 15C, 14D, 12F, 11G, 8C).
The bells are by Shaw of Bradford, and date from the late 19th century. Adam bought them in 1997 and had them refurbished by Taylor's, with new clappers and handles. Taylor's also replaced three of the bells. Adam bought such a large set because he was into ringing 14 and 16 bell peals in the late 90s and early 2000s, but he hasn't rung them for about the last 15 years.
Tina and I thought about buying them, because we liked the idea of a set by a different founder (we already have a Taylor set and a Whitechapel set). We borrowed them for a try-out, and last Monday we rang a peal of Bristol on the eight in size 12F.
1 Albany Quadrant
Monday, 19 March 2018 in 2h32 (12F)
5154 Bristol Surprise Major
Composed by D. G. Maynard
1-2 Tina R Stoecklin
3-4 Simon J Gay (C)
5-6 Jonathan S Frye
7-8 Julia R Cater
The bells are lovely, easy to ring with a nice "tap", and quieter than our own sets. They are tuned somewhat sharp of standard pitch, but they are all in tune with each other and the Taylor bells are a good match. Julia was disturbed by the non-standard pitch, but I don't think most ringers would find it a problem.
Eventually financial sense prevailed and we have decided that we don't need any extra bells at the moment, and certainly not so many. If we really do want a Shaw set, we can keep our eyes open for one with fewer bells. So Adam's bells are still for sale. Maybe readers (if we still have any!) might be interested, or might know someone who would be interested. It's hard to say what the price should be - there isn't a very active market in second-hand handbells, and it's not a question of simply looking up the theoretical price as one can with cars. A new set of Taylor bells with all the same sizes would be about £6800.
Adam lives in Edinburgh, but the bells are likely to remain at Albany Quadrant for a little while. His plan is to take them to his parents' house in Birmingham with the idea that buyers can view and collect them from there. Meanwhile, if anyone in Scotland is interested in them, we could arrange a viewing and try-out.