I just received your very well written email. I congratulate you on your dilgence in preparing your mission report. Let me try to answer your questions and tell you some facts about San Jose you might want to incorporate into your report.
Bells: Purpose, size, history, identification of etc.
San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo was a prominent mission, headquarters of the mission chain during Fr. Serra's life and located near Monterey, the civil and military headquarters of California. Accordingly, the mission was sent a significant number of religious objects and "church equipment." The Spanish authorities also decided to build a special stone church at Carmel and sent an architect / master stonemason, Manuel Estevan Ruiz, to build a the present church (between1793-1797).
The Great Stone Church of San Juan Capistrano had bells hung in the tower. When the church collapsed in a massive earthquake, in 1812, the four original bells survived and were hung in a bell wall the following year. The two largest bells were cast in 1796, the others in 1804.
All the missions had bells. There is a complete list of the 21 missions, by location on our website.
The mission bells were hung in a bell tower or companario, or in some missions in a bell wall. They were used to notify the inhabitants of church services (the day started with the ringing of bells), to announce daily events (meals, for example) and to signal the arrival of visitors. The bells were rung extensively on feast days as part of the festivities.
In about 1893, when interest in “saving” the old Spanish missions was gathering steam, Ms. Anna Pitcher of the woman’s club of Los Angeles proposed that the historic trail of the mission era (El Camino Real) be preserved. By 1904 a plan had taken shape and a group of women formed the El Camino Real Association. This ultimately led to the creation of large marker bells, some 400 of which were placed along the highway and at each mission. One of the key movers and shakers in this effort was Mrs. A.S.C. Forbes.
Bells were used in the missions to call everyone to the church for services starting at sunrise, to communicate the time of day and to regulate daily life in the community. In the mission era neither the priests nor the Indian neophytes had watches.
The mission bells started the day and summoned everyone to morning mass. The bells were also rung at noon to announce the midday meal and at sunset, when the bells called everyone home from work.