About the church bells of Gräfenhausen
The first information about the purchase of a church bell dates back to 1662.
„I sign and confirm, that the christian community of Gräfenhausen bought a bell from me. It had a weight of 307 pounds and was paid immediately. Furthermore I will give them a warranty, if it bursts within a year relating to mistakes made by my craftsmanship. But if the bell gets damaged by a smith or locksmith it is their fault and not a lack of my work“
This happend in Franckfurt Wednesday 13.th of Novembris anno 1662
Johann Wagner Stück- und Glockengiesser in Franckfurt.
In the year of 1754 the just mentioned bell bursted. A committee of the communities Gräfenhausen and Schneppenhausen and the „Zentgraf“ ordered a new bell and divided the costs amongst eachother.
This second bell had a weight of five per metric hundredweight and a bad sound. Therefore the bell founder from Frankfurt had to get a third bell, which was very close to the sound and the weight of the first bell.
This „bell adventure“ was very expensive, adding the costs of bell cage, bell pouring, transportation of the bell, interest, wages and expenses it added up to 267 guilder and 21 albus.
The superintendent as the regulatory authority of the church paid 50 guilder of the costs. The rest was paid by the communities of Gräfenhausen (2/3) and Schneppenhausen (1/3).
The fate of the bells of Gräfenhausen mirrors the ups and downs of history. Already in 1768 a new bell had to be bought. It had a diameter of 88 cm and a weight of 440 kg. For 200 years it is still hanging on the same spot.
In the year of 1841 a second bell was added (with a weight of 156 kg) and in 1856 a third one, that weighed 261 kg. In World War I these two bells were handed over to the army after a formal church service, since the metal was needed as war material (payment was 3,50 Mark per Kg).
In the year 1925 two new bells were bought (weight of 318kg and 217kg). They had been taken away at night and were melted down in World War II (1941).
Since the parish fair of 1952 two new bells complete our chimes:
- A borrowed bell of the protestant church of Pritter (isle of Wollin, Pomerania), weight 215 kg, called „Bell of home, which has a weight of 215 kg.
- A new bell with a weight of 280 kg, casted in Sinn. It is dedicated to the fallen of the world wars 1914-1918 and 1939-1945. It is called „Bell of remembrance of the fallen“
The ringing of our three bells ist called „Gloria chimes“ with the tones a – h – d.
The arrival of the new bells (1952)
You see on the left hand side the borrowed bell from Pomerania and on the right hand side the new bell. Since when the parish fair of Gräfenhausen (which is Sunday after Michaelis) has been celebrated is not known.
But it is certain that it is connected to the construction of the church or its remembrance. The first documented proof of our „Kerb“ dates back to 1683:
„24 Albus were taken by four men, that went to Darmstadt because of the „Kerb“, since it was on a Wednesday.“ Probably the date was meant to be moved to Sunday.
Further information about the church bells of Gräfenhausen and Weiterstadt you find here as a German download: