Dating crotal bells
The body of these is made in two halves, formed by hammering the sheet into shaped moulds, and joined together, after inserting the iron ‘pea’, with a lead/tin solder.On the very earliest of this type, the loop was made of circular-section wire, which was inserted through a small hole in the top of the bell and its ends splayed in the manner of a modern split-pin.Bells of this type were produced only until about the end of the 13th century. Mo L, Dress Accessories, 1668-1671; Mitchiner, Medieval & Secular Badges, 356.) The earliest crotal bells found in England date to the beginning of the 13th century.They are of tin and were cast as open bells with an integral suspension loop and four ‘petals’ forming the lower body.
Alongside the early cast crotals, copper and copper-alloy bells of sheet metal were produced.
They are also found in a wide range of sizes, at least from 13mm to 34mm diameter, suggesting a variety of different uses. Mo L, Dress Accessories, 1644-1667; B Read, History Beneath Our Feet.
p.55, No.2; Mitchiner, Medieval & Secular Badges, 350.) A development that occurs during the late 14th century is the casting of bells in two halves, which were then soldered at the horizontal joint line after inserting the pellet.
It is often used to decorate the lower hemisphere of the bell, in combination with a sunburst design on the upper hemisphere.
There are various other forms of decoration, including crowns (Civil War period?