The New Bell Wake
The (Norton) New Bell Wake (Roud 10535) is a song associated with Saint Nicolas' Church, Kings Norton where the words are said to have been found in the church tower and refer to the hanging of the bells in 1783 by Robert Turner.
From 1763 until 1783 the brothers Robert and Samuel Turner hung most of the major rings cast at Whitechapel. as well as working with other founders and on independent jobs. In 1783 Robert Turner hung the new bells at Kings Norton, Worcestershire, and after that nothing further is known of his work.
Lyrics: When Norton raised at last, my friends, Their new bells in the steeple, The ringers tried to make amends By rousing up the people, One morn, you know, before cock-crow, They suddenly got ringing, and for to make a new bell wake Set all the bells a-swinging. Chorus: They banged each bell And rang so well So true their parts did take, That from morn till night Was loud delight At Norton new bell wake. Such ringing ne’er was known before: They fairly shook the spire. They kicked up one continuous roar, Twas slam round, change and fire. The guns did shoot and folks did hoot On hearing such a clatter. They ran about to see the rout And learn what was the matter. Chorus: The beadle led, Sam Parsonage made The second bell to sing. Then wrencher Jim the third pulled in, The fourth did Collins ring. Dipple fifth, and Atkins Ben Chimed in the sixth so merry. Tom Mason was seventh. The tenor bell Was rattled in by Jerry. Chorus: They drank, too, at a furious rate And nearly spent their store. Two pence was all left in the plate And they could raise no more. The warden coming just in time Behaved them fair and well. They gave a shout when he turned out Two shillings for each bell. Chorus: At length that night and what a sight Was then on Norton Green And what a squall at Osborn’s stall When they fired her magazine. The crackers flew and serpents, too, Made all the neighbourhood quake. Folks thought the devil, as seemed but civil, Had come to the new bell wake. Chorus: It was crack and fizz And smack and whizz The cakes again did bake. The powder stunk And most were drunk To end the new bell wake.
- Roy Bailey singing New Bell Wake - Spotify