The Church Bells of the City of London

ST BARTHOLOMEW THE LESS,
SMITHFIELD

3 bells and Sanctus
Tenor: 6 cwt approx. in B
Frame: 17th Century for 5 bells.
Tower Stages:
1. Ground: Ellacombe frame
2. Empty chamber
3. Belfry
Access: ground floor door staircase in south west of tower to roof.
Formerly a ring of 5.

DETAILS OF THE BELLS

Bell

Weight

Diameter

Note

Cast

Founder

1

3-2-12 26" D sharp 1869 Mears & Stainbank

2

5 cwt approx. 29" C sharp 1379 - 1406 John Langhorne

3

6 cwt approx. 33" B c. 1420 Richard Crouch

Sanctus

1 cwt approx. 197/16" B flat 1825 Thomas Mears II
1. tba
 
2. tba
 
3. tba
 
S. T MEARS OF LONDON FECIT 1825.
 

HISTORY

15th Cent.

Date of tower (10 feet square). 2 of the present bells date from this period.

Late 16th Cent.

Probably the age of the frame. It has pits for 5 bells (4 parallel and 1 transverse), all of which have been occupied at some point.

1789

Interior of church entirely remodelled by the younger Dance.

1823

Church practically rebuilt.

1825

Sanctus bell cast.

1869

24th Sept

Whitechapel Daybook records "W.H.Cross, St.Bartholomew's Hospital. To a Bell 3-2-12 @ 70/0/0 25.5.0 taking down old bell, fitting stock & Clapper, hanging new bell, inscription & all charges 5. Total 30.5.0"

1869

24th Sept

Whitechapel Daybook records "W.H.Cross, St.Bartholomew's Hospital. By old bell 3-1-20, Draft for waste dirt &c 10,3-1-10 @ 4/18/0 16.7.3."

1869

The treble of 3 was recast by Whitechapel.

WWII

The 2 larger bells were taken to Cleeve Abbey for safety.  They were returned and hung dead in the frame.  Some years later (1970s-2000s, not known) the Sanctus bell was removed from its pit between the main frame and the louvre centre post and hung in one of the empty pits for swinging.

GALLERY

The following 3 black & white photographs were taken by David Cawley in the 1960s.
Photo DrL Photo DrL Photo DrL
The treble and second and right, the tenor, hanging in the frame. The tenor. The Sanctus bell hung for ringing between the bellframe and the centre post of the louvre.
The following photographs were taken by Dickon Love on 16th Dec 2009.
Middle bell. Treble bell
The end of the frame with bells 2 and 3. The old wheels and headstocks are stored in one of the empty pits.
The tenor. The sanctus bell. The old sanctus pit.  You can just about make out the bearing slots and the slider runner board on the louvre.
The frame is the oldest in London.  
 
The tenor.