Following a discussion with Alfred Pitstow (then 86), as outlined in the paragraph below, HC Stacey conducted some detailed research on the subject of Bell Rope Field.

In 1962 the late Mr. Alfred E. Pitstow told me that when he took over from his father [Fred Pitstow], the Treasurership of the Saffron Walden Society of Change Ringers, there existed a Charity for the provision of new bell ropes, which charity derived its revenue from a field called the "Bell Rope Field", lying south of the Isolation Hospital.

HC Stacey documented the results of his researches in 1971 and sent a copy to the Society (downloadable from reference page). In summary, his results were inconclusive. While he found evidence of the church owning a piece of land in what is now Hill Top Lane (previously Well Green Lane) in Saffron Walden he had found nothing to support AE Pitstow's story - he added, however, that it should not be discredited, stating that there was evidence from the church accounts of their providing funds for bell ropes and quoting from WE Tate in that it was "quite common for odd scraps of land being allocated from time to time to meet regularly recurring charges levied upon the community". Indeed with the advent of internet search engines there is evidence of exactly that, in namely:

  • Eynesbury, Huntingdonshire - Bell Rope Field Charity
  • Smarden, Kent - Bell Rope Field
  • Scarcliff, Derbyshire - Bell Rope Field

In a later letter of 1987 (included as cover page in the downloadable copy) to Roger Collins, then master, Cliff Stacey states that he is confident that the field (also known as "Hangman's Close") in the below plan, headed "Church Land" was Alfred's Bell Rope Field.

Church Land

[ref. ringers' archive Misc. 11]


  • Church Field, alias Hangmans Close alias Bell Rope Field – H.C. Stacey (1971) – ringers' archive [Coll 1c]
  • Letter dated 4th October 1987 – H.C. Stacey – ringers' archive [Misc 11]
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