St Mary's Church Speldhurst, Kent in the Garden of England Our Church aims; to grow closer to God, to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ andto express God's love in action
 
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8 bells and Sanctus
Tenor 13-1-26 in F#
Practice: Tuesday 19:45
Grid Ref. TQ553414
Upstairs Ringing Room
A feature of St Mary's which makes it well known over a wide area is its ring of eight bells. These are rung every Sunday morning and occasionally before other special services. They are also rung for weddings and for bellringing practice on Tuesday evenings. New recruits are always welcome, as are visiting ringers. For more details of practice times, contact the Parish Administrator

Click here to hear the bells

After the disastrous fire in Speldhurst Church in 1791, enough bell metal was recovered to cast one new bell, but the parishioners missed their old peal of six and so, in 1847, they set about collecting voluntary contributions. It is an astonishing tribute to their success that five new bells, plus the retuned original, were in place and ringing by 1849! The new bells cost £300 plus £60 for the hanging. In 1887 two Jubilee bells were added to make up an eight peal.

The bells were used to mark all manner of occasions. Up until about 1870 the curfew was still rung. Two other customs lasted a little longer - up until the outbreak of the Second World War. One was the 'Passing Bell' to indicate that someone had died. The second was the 'Pudding Bell', struck after the 11 a.m. Communion service to warn those at home to get the dinner ready.


Bell
Weight
Diameter
Cast
Founder

1

4-2-19

1887

Mears & Stainbank

2

4-2-20

1887

Mears & Stainbank

3

5-0-11

1849

Charles & George Mears

4

6-1-16

1849

Charles & George Mears

5

6-2-19

1849

Charles & George Mears

6

6-3-10

1849

Charles & George Mears

7

10-1-18

1933

Gillett & Johnston

8

13-1-26

1849

Charles & George Mears

Sanctus

 

1920

 

Mears & Stainbank

 

1.
MEARS & STAINBANK, FOUNDERS LONDON
D 1887 D IN MEMORY OF SUSANNA & ELEANOR POWELL, DIED 1885
   
2.
MEARS & STAINBANK, FOUNDERS LONDON
I CELEBRATE THE JUBILEE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 1837 TO 1887
   
3.
C & G MEARS FOUNDERS LONDON 1849
4.
C & G MEARS FOUNDERS LONDON 1849
5.
C & G MEARS FOUNDERS LONDON 1849
6.
C & G MEARS FOUNDERS LONDON 1849
7.
GILLETT & JOHNSTON CROYDON
CAST IN 1812 FROM THE METAL OF SIX BELLS MELTED IN THE FIRE OF 1791.RECAST 1933.
   
8.
C & G MEARS FOUNDERS LONDON 1849
THE TIME IS SHORT WATCH AND PRAY ALWAYS

1791

Church set on fire by lightning, melting the 4 bells.

1812

A bell was cast from the metal of the melted bells byThomas Mears.

1849

5 bells were cast by Charles and George Mears forming bells 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 around the 1812 bell.

1871

New church completed by J. Oldrid Scott.

1887

2 trebles added by Mears & Stainbank to make 8.

1913

Bells rehung by Mears & Stainbank.

1920

Sanctus bell cast by Mears & Stainbank and hung for swing chiming in the intermediate chamber.

1931

Bells rehung by Mears & Stainbank.

1933

7th recast by Gillett & Johnston.

1933

7th April

Bells dedicated.

c.

1984

Bells 3 and 7 rehung by Whitechapel.

1986

Bells 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 rehung by Whitechapel.

Information courtesy of the Encyclopedia of the Church Bells of Kent.

For more information about other towers in Kent, click here.