History of the Bells

Bells

The church building has two bells, one of which dates back to 1618 and the other which is thought to be 13th century.

Legend tells that in the mid-13th century King David of Scotland gifted 4 bells to Lindores Abbey, one of which was supposed to be made of silver and called the Lady Bell . This bell found its way to Auchtermuchty after the Reformation. The authenticity was checked in Victorian times and it is, indeed, a Medieval bell, with a relief of Gabriel appearing to Mary on one side and, on the other, Mary and Jesus after Calvary.

Bells removed during belfry workThe other bell, called the Reformation Bell also has an interesting history.

In 1618, Newburgh and Auchtermuchty both decided that each should have new church bell. The place to go for the best bells was the Netherlands, which had trading links with the coastal villages in Fife. Orders were therefore dispatched to the appropriate bell makers to make the bells.

When word came that the bells were ready an official from each town went to Holland to supervise operations.

Bells removed during belfry workWhen the bells were being swung out of the hold onto land at Newburgh pier, one of them fell and was cracked. The official from Newburgh was most perturbed and started to fuss about which community should have the remaining bell.

The official from Auchtermuchty was quite calm. He announced that, before setting out on the voyage across the sea he had marked the Auchtermuchty Bell with chalk, and sure enough, the undamaged bell had a chalk mark. This bell was claimed for Auchtermuchty, unloaded and dispatched along the road with all speed.

When the official from Newburgh later examined the remaining bell, he found that it, too, had a chalk mark, but by then it was too late!

Detail of the older, medieval bell