The Church Bells of the City of London

ST ANDREW-BY-THE-WARDROBE
QUEEN VICTORIA STREET

Photo DrL May 2001

3 bells and a disused bell
(the old tenor)
Tenor: 8-0-8 in A sharp
Retuning: never subsequently retuned.
Hung dead from RSJs high in the tower and rung using Ellacombe chiming frame and ropes attached to the clappers..

Tower Stages:
1. Ground: Ellacombe frame
2. Privately rented office
3. Empty room
4. Bells

Access: ground floor door staircase in south east of tower to all 4 stages. Ladder to roof.

DETAILS OF THE BELLS

Bell

Weight

Diameter

Note

Cast

Founder

1

5-0-1 29" D

1961

Mears & Stainbank

2

6-3-0 32" C 1961 Mears & Stainbank

3

8-0-8 35" A sharp 1961 Mears & Stainbank

Disused bell

8-1-13 36" A flat c. 1420 Worcester Bell Foundry
1. PEACE AND GOOD NEIGHBOURHOOD A%R J757

RECAST

19

wc1951.jpg (2432 bytes)

61

MEARS, LONDON

2. TAYLORS BELLFOUNDERS OXFORD : 1837 :

RECAST

19

wc1951.jpg (2432 bytes)

61

MEARS, LONDON

3.  

MEARS

19

wc1951.jpg (2432 bytes)

61

LONDON

D.
MI I (King's Head) DE (Queen's Head) CELI (King's) HABEO (Queen's) NOMEN (King's) GABRIELI
 

    The disused bell (old tenor) is cracked and stands in the narthex of the church.
It is a fine 15th century casting and retains all its canons and is the oldest bell in the City of London.

The inscription is in Lombardic Capitals.

EARLIER BELLS

    The tower used to have 4 bells in it, 3 and a sanctus, that were damaged in the War.

Bell

Weight
(recorded 1933)

Weight
(recorded 1961)

Diameter

Note

Cast

Founder

1

4-2-22 4-3-23 30⅜" C

1757

Abraham Rudhall

2

6-0-13 6-0-18 32" A 1837 William & John Taylor

3

8-1-13 - 36" A flat c.1420 Worcester Bell Foundry
Sanctus 3 cwt approx. 24" G 1853 John Warner & Sons

    The inscriptions are as reproduced above.  The Sanctus was inscribed as follows:

S J. WARNER & SONS, CRESCENT FOUNDRY, LONDON, 1853

PATENT

    The disused bell (old tenor) is cracked and stands in the narthex of the church.
It is a fine 15th century casting and retains all its canons and is the oldest bell in the City of London.

The inscription is in Lombardic Capitals.

HISTORY

The church was so named after its proximity to the King's Great Wardrobe, a mansion built by Sir John Beauchamp, and after his death in 1359, purchased by King Edward III and used as an office for the Keepers of the King's Apparel.

1552

Record of 3 bells and a clock bell.

1666

Church destroyed in the Great Fire.

1685-95

Church rebuilt by Wren with a south west tower of 4 storeys to a height of about 86 ft.

1708

Record of no bells in the tower.

1714

Record of no bells in the tower.

1850

Clock installed (from Christ Church Rotherhithe).

1853

A bell was cast by John Warner and hung in the church.

1933

Three bells were acquired from Avenbury, Herefordshire (which was in ruins). They were retuned and rehung dead in the tower of St Andrew by the Wardrobe by Whitechapel to replace the Warner bell, which was hung as a Sanctus bell.

1941

The church and bells were damaged in the War.  They were left hanging from a girder at the top of the burned out tower and lowered by Mears & Stainbank.

1961

The church was restored and the front 2 bells and Warner Sanctus bell were recast into a new set of 3 by Mears & Stainbank. The tenor was preserved in the church.

GALLERY

The cross on the mediaeval bell. The King's Head. The Queen's Head.
The three bells in the tower.
Photo ASCY Library  
David Cawley with the mediaeval bell.