Shapard Tower and the Carillon are located in All Saints' Chapel, University Avenue, Sewanee, Tennessee.


56 bells made of bronze
Bourdon – 7,500 lbs
Treble – 25 lbs


1958-59 during the expansion of All Saints' Chapel


The bells were cast during 1957-58 by Les Fils de George Paccard, Sévrier, France


Albert Bonholzer (1959 - 1984)

Laura H. Whipple (1984 - 1992)

Marcia de Bary (1992 - 1997)

Laura H. Whipple (1997 - 1999)

Jeff Davis (1999 - 2000)

John Bordley (2001 - 2016)

Raymond Gotko (2016 - Present)

Assisted by Charlene Williamson, Sarah Strickand, Joseph Wehrmeyer, and an ever-changing number of students at the University.


Shapard Tower, at the south porch of the Chapel, stands 134 feet tall and houses the 56-bell Leonidas Polk Memorial Carillon. It is named for Bishop Polk, Louisiana, a principal founder of the University, and grandfather of the carillon donor, Dudley Gail. The bells were cast in the foundry of Les Fils de George Paccard in Haute-Savoie, near the French-Italian border at Annecy, France.

The largest bell is called the Great Bourdon, weighing 7,500 lbs; the smallest is 22 lbs. The combined weight of all the bells is 23 tons. The carillon has a range of nearly five octaves, which, coupled with its rich tone, makes it one of the most significant in the world. The bells are played from a clavier, or keyboard, in the playing cabin high in the tower. All the bells are stationary and are struck by clappers activated by levers connected to the keyboard.


Students of the Carillon are instructed through the University of the South Music Department. The course offers one hour of academic credit on a pass/fail basis.


The process of acquiring a carillon for the University of the South began with correspondence in 1949 between the then-university Vice-Chancellor Henry Gass, and Dr. Arthur Bigelow, the physics professor and carillonneur at Princeton University. The original intent was to install an electronic carillon (Carillonic Bells). An alumnus, Dudley Gail, C'20, who had served in France during WWI, was familiar with the carillons in Belgium. Dudley Gale funded the carillon in honor of his great-grandfather, Bishop Leonidas Polk, a University of the South founder. Dr. Bigelow was commissioned to design a true carillon.

The Paccard Foundry in France was commissioned to cast the 56 bells to be hung in the new tower that would be built as part of the planned expansion of All Saints’ Chapel. At the time, the Sewanee carillon was the third-largest carillon in the nation. The Shapard family provided the funds for the Tower. The Tower and installation of the carillon were completed in 1959, an event celebrated with a concert on April 12, 1959, by the carillon’s designer, Arthur Bigelow.


Contact Ray Gotko for more information on the Leonidas Polk Carillon.