The Witch and a Fallen Bell

This is from Tales of Old Berkshire. It is one of the more confusing stories. I doubt if the river was very deep, so why was this such a disaster to the village?

After a terrible storm, long, long ago, the church tower of Kintbury fell, throwing the great bell into the river. A  wizard was consulted and he told the worried parishioners that a hook must be fixed to the head of the bell, and attached to chains fastened to twelve white heifers. These were to b led by moonlight by 12 maidens dressed in white with blood red sashes. No word must be spoken during the operation or the spell would be broken and the bell lost forever.

All was proceeding according to the wizard’s instructions until the Kintbury witch called out:

“Here comes the Great Kintbury Bell

In spite of all the devils in Hell.”

The chain snapped and the bell sank under the water.

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