The Tower of Marsworth Church was built in the early 15th Century, but the earliest documentary reference to bells is in 1552, at which date there was a ring of 3 bells. By 1637 this had been augmented to 4, and a Sanctus bell added, although the Tower was stated to be in considerable decay. Then in 1662 the chapel at Tiscote in Hertfordshire, but in the parish of Marsworth, was demolished and its bell brought to Marsworth. Presumably it was this bell that was recast by Henry Knight of Reading in the same year to augment the ring to 5 bells, and for which a new bell frame was installed at about the same time.
The 4 older bells were all subsequently recast at the bell foundry established by the Chandler family in 1635 behind their blacksmith’s shop at Drayton Parslow, just a few miles away - the tenor in 1679, 4th in 1682, 2nd in 1694 and the 3rd in 1702. The Sanctus bell was re-cast by Lester & Pack of Whitechapel in 1767 (the Drayton Parslow foundry having closed in 1756).
When Rev Ragg became Vicar in 1880 he found the Church to be in a somewhat dilapidated state, the bell frame decaying and the tenor bell cracked. Ragg soon set about a skilful restoration of the Church. This included the partial reconstruction of the bell frame and repair of fittings by George Montague, a wheelwright & carpenter from Cheddington, in 1886. The cracked tenor bell was recast by Warner’s of London in 1887, and first rung on Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee Day. The clock, believed to have been manufactured by Thwaites & Reed of Clerkenwell, but carrying the name Field & Son, Aylesbury (who presumably supplied it), was installed in 1888 and chimes the hours on the tenor bell.
Unfortunately, the quality of the workmanship of the bell frame repairs was not particularly good and it was not too long before the bells fell silent again. They were rung again briefly in the 1950s but the local team disbanded after a few years due to the difficulty of ringing.
In the late 1980s, following extensive restoration work to the Tower, interest in the bells was rekindled. Some minor repairs were carried out to allow the bells to be rung occasionally, but they were very hard work and it was clear that, before any regular ringing could be contemplated, complete rehanging would be necessary. By 1990 a local band was formed which learned to ring at Cheddington, and in 1992 fund raising commenced. The bells were transported by canal to Taylor’s bell foundry at Loughborough in May 1994 for refurbishment and tuning. The opportunity was also taken to have a 6th bell cast, and a new steel bell frame was built and installed by local voluntary labour to Taylor’s designs.
The bells were hung in June 1995, with the service of dedication taking place on 28th July, and on the following day the first ever recorded quarter peal was rung at Marsworth. One side of the old 1662 bell frame was subsequently re-used as a balustrade to a new ringing gallery. The total cost of the project was £25,310, of which £6,200 was received in grants.