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Rare medieval bell pit uncovered in Easton church

Finding the bell pit in Easton

A 14th century bell pit has been unearthed in the floor of a Cambridgeshire church.

St Peter's Church in Easton, near Huntingdon, was supposed to be bringing itself into the 21st century.

But during works to improve facilities at the 13th century building a hole in the floor was found.

Further investigation showed that the discovery was a pit used to burn charcoal in the process of melting metal in bell moulds.

Beth Davis lives in the village and was on watch duty in case any discoveries were made.

She told BBC Cambridgeshire: "A bell pit is constructed into the floor of the church tower and this is where the charcoal is burnt to be able to heat the whole of the mould for the casting of the bell.

"We found a lot of charcoal in the pit and some bell metal as well."

14th century bell pit at St Peter's in Eaton
It is believed the bell pit was used to make a treble bell

The pit was found when the brick floor of the church tower had been lifted up, changing the physical history of the building.

Beth said: "The floor at the level of the pit was lime washed, so it perhaps never had a stone or brick covering until the 18th century or later."

The find has sparked interest among historians who, according to Beth, will have to be quick if they want to catch a glimpse.

She said: "We've had a lot of archaeologists visiting, mainly because a feature like this is usually destroyed and this one is so complete. It's lovely.

"It would be difficult to put a glass cover on it but what we can do is keep it for the next 100 years so someone else can come find it again."

Despite only having 66 houses the village has managed to raise £70,000 for the building work, another £20,000 is needed to complete the project.

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