The oldest Bellhanging Company in the UK combining Modern Technology with Traditional Craftsmanship

Established 1824

Company History

Whites of Appleton Ltd is the oldest continuously trading Bellhanging Company in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1824 by Alfred White who became interested in the workings of bells following his instruction in the art of campanology in 1818 when the three bells at Appleton Church were recast into a Ring of six by Thomas Mears. Alfred was Innkeeper at "The Greyhound", Besselsleigh, a small village on the A420 Oxford-Swindon road where he also ran a bakery, the village shop and a forge. It was here that he carried out his first work on bells and many oak bell frames were constructed in the yard at the rear of the Inn. Alfred was born in 1804 and died in 1876. He started trading as A. White, Bellhanger, and eventually took his sons into the business and traded as A. White & Sons. Even in these early days he was doing work all over the country including work at several Cathedrals.

 Frederick White

Alfred White's grave 1804 - 1876                  Frederick White 1834-1909

One of Alfred’s sons, Frederick, took over the running of the Company in 1876 and eventually took his own sons into the profession. During his working life he installed massive new oak bell frames at Christ Church Cathedral and Merton and Magdalen Colleges in Oxford, also designing and manufacturing several Church clock mechanisms.

A Frederick White turret clock mechanism.

He moved from the Greyhound at Besselsleigh to the Three Horse Shoes at Appleton circa 1880 and from here moved to a newly built workshop in the centre of the village.

Richard White   Francis White

Richard White 1877 - 1956

Francis White 1919 - 2011

Frederick was succeeded by one of his sons, Richard White, who in turn took one of his sons, Francis A. White, into the business. Francis, or Frank as he was known, was a bachelor and his brother's eldest son, Brian R. White, joined him in 1958. Brian became a partner in 1969 when the Company name was changed to "Whites of Appleton". In 1985 Frederick White's old Workshop was sold and a "custom-built" factory was constructed, complete with new forge, overhead electric crane and engineering and woodworking machinery. It was constructed on a site purchased by Richard White in 1921 complete with a small building which was used as a carpenters workshop.

Frank retired in 1988 and Brian's wife, Diana, joined as joint owner of the Company. In 2003 the firm became a limited company and Graham Clifton became one of the directors along side Brian and Diana.  In 2011 James Haseldine became a director.

The Company undertakes all work to Church bells with the exceptions of re-tuning and casting/recasting. This we sub-contract  to the bell foundries.


Home Page

Whites of Appleton Ltd. Church Bellhangers. Appleton, Abingdon, Oxon. OX13 5JJ. Tel: 01865 862549  Fax: 01865 864969

bells@whitesbellhangers.co.uk