Construction of wooden rafters in which a large church bell is hung. This can be an independent construction or one within a church tower. The first variant is typically Frisian, mostly provided with a roof to imitate a tower. In Dutch a bell cage is called a 'klokkestoel', which means bell chair literally translated.
An excellent online visual example of a bell cage can be found at the site of Kamp Amersfoort (former concentration camp) at http://www.kampamersfoort.nl/locatie_klokkenstoel_bottom_uk.htm.
Bell cages stem from centuries and centuries ago. Sometimes they are hidden under old trees, sometimes in open space near a church, or as symbol on a cemetery. Bell cages hardly are huge constructions, but rather simple yet remarkable shelters for bells carrying out a message.
The meaning of bell cages can be made clear by the statement that wristwatches are a modern invention. In the past, people working on the land had nothing but the loud sound of the bell to realize it was time for lunch or to go home. The town bell also had an important warning function at times of fire or other disasters, making all men gather to combat the catastrophe.
Many towns did not have a church tower, because it was destroyed or just lack of funds. A church was quite easy to build, but a tower needed extra groundwork and therefore represented a certain luxury. In the not so rich settlements, the town carpenter would consequently build a wooden construction with a roof, under which the bell was hung.