The Church Bells of the City of London

ST KATHARINE CREE, Leadenhall St

Photo DrL Mar 2007
6 ringing bells
 + disused clock bell
Tenor: 9-3-18 in G
Anticlockwise
Retuned: 5 and 6 in 2009,
remainder untuned
Frame: 1754 Robert Catlin
Ground floor

DETAILS OF THE BELLS

Bell

Weight

Diameter

Cast

Note*

Founder

Treble

4-2-14 27"

1754

E

Thomas Lester

2

5-2-1 29" 1754 D Thomas Lester

3

5-2-8 30" 1754 C Thomas Lester

4

6-3-14 32" 1754 B Thomas Lester

5

8-0-7 35" 1754 A Thomas Lester

Tenor

9-3-18 39" 1842 G Thomas Mears II

Clock

3 cwt approx. 2413/16" 1754   Thomas Lester

The tenor was supplied at 10-1-23.  The 5th was measured at 8-0-17 post welding but pre-tuning.

INSCRIPTIONS

 

1. THE GIFT OF NATHANIEL BENTLEY OF THIS PARISH 1754. T. LESTER & T. PACK FECIT

2. THOS LESTER & THOS PACK FECIT J754

3. THOS LESTER & THOS PACK FECIT J754

4. THOS LESTER & THOS PACK FECIT J754

5. THOS LESTER & THOS PACK FECIT J754

6. THOMAS MEARS FOUNDER LONDON. 1842

MR R: B. WHITESIDE
MR GEORGE BRIDGER
} CHURCHWARDENS
C. THOS LESTER & THOS PACK FECIT J754

There are borders on 2, 3, 4 & 5. All are different. The clock bell has the same border as the 5th.
Single canons have been broken off bells 1-5. The clock bell used to have a wheel but is not rung.

FORMER BELLS

Bell

Weight

Diameter

Cast

Founder

6 (of 6)

11-0-21

1754

Thomas Lester

HISTORY

1504

Tower built.

1552

Record of 6 bells and a sanctus ("belles hangynge in the Steple greate and smalle Syxe" and a sacring bell).

1629

Church rebuilt (except for the lower part which dates from 1584). The new church was 15ft above the old church as shown by a pillar of the old church still standing at the west end adjoining the tower.

1666

Church survived the Great Fire.

1708

Record of 5 bells.

1714

Record of 5 bells.

1722

Stow reported that Sir Thomas Audley offered bells from Holy Trinity Priory in exchange for having the church rebuilt nearer the street, but the parishioners refused the offer.

1733

The Rambling ringers (of the College Youths) rang some Grandsire Doubles on the five bells but "the bells were in sutch bad repair that they had mutch ado to make em answer".

1754

The bells were recast into a new ring of six by Lester & Pack.

1754

4th May

Robert Catlin was paid 5.18.0.

1754

14th Nov.

Churchwardens accounts give "Thomas Lester Founder for Recasting the 5 Bells and 2 New ones 110.18.0"

1754

22nd Nov.

Churchwardens accounts give "Doughsell for Ringers at hanging the Bells 1.15.10."

1755

1st May

Churchwardens accounts give "Mr. Jennings his Expences at tuning ye Bells 6s.6d

1842

Tenor recast by Thomas Mears II. (Whitechapel Daybook 7th Nov: To: A bell C 10-1-23 73-3-9, Rehanging etc. 13-0-0, total 86-3-9; By Old bell C11-0-21 52-4-2, net total 33-19-7; Providing and fixing a new set of supporting ironwork, new Chiming hammer, Clock hammer with springs & supports, cleaning & refitting the bell, 8-8-0.)

1911

The bells were rehung by Mears & Stainbank. (Whitechapel Daybook 8th Sept: To lifting out the six bells, turning them, and adapting headstocks to suit the cannons, fitting new supporting ironwork, new ends to the old clappers, new leathers and bolts, and replacing the bells in their old bearings for chiming, including bell hangers time and journeys, use of tackle also adjusting the rollers and cleaning the Bells with wire brushes, 29- -.")

1962

Church restored.

2007

Wheels put on the front 5 allowing them to rung with care. The tenor was given a wheel shortly afterwards and the ringing room moved to the ground floor.  An appeal was launched to retune the tenor and rehang all the bells in a new frame.

2009

Bells removed from the tower.  The 5th was found to be cracked, so was welded with a bit of additional metal to increase its pitch.  This and the tenor were then tuned and all 6 bells hung in a new frame in the tower and dedicated on 18th Dec,

GALLERY

Photo CJP Photo CJP
An old engraving. In 2007 when Michael Royalton-Kisch and Dickon Love inspected the belfry, they made the following observations the ultimately led to their restoration in 2009.  Here the 2nd is shown. Grooves in the frame below permit the bell to swing. The tower is very small and the bells are packed in tightly.
Photo CJP Photo CJP Photo DrL 25th Jan 2007
The treble. More grooves in the frame to allow the bell to clear. Michael Royalton-Kisch rings up the treble on the headstock.
Photo DrL 25th Jan 2007 Photo DrL 25th Jan 2007 Photo DrL 25th Jan 2007
The view from above. Clockwise, the bells are 5th, 4th, 2nd and 3rd. The disused clock bell in the cupola at the top of the tower. The 5th bell.
Photo DrL 25th Jan 2007 Photo DrL 25th Jan 2007  
The ceiling of the former (upstairs) ringing room. Coat hooks in the former ringing room.
 
 

The bells were removed from the tower in March 2009 and sent to Whitechapel.

The 6 bells on the floor of the church. (Photo Neil Thomas) On 25th March 2009, HM The Queen and Prince Philip visited the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.  They are pictured here with the assembled Cree frame. (Photos Neil Thomas)
The rolled steel segments for the new canon-retaining headstocks. The 4th upturned having its crown drilled. Pieces of the disassembled framesides.
The 5th. At Whitechapel, the 5th was found to be cracked.  The crack can be seen here in the crown, accentuated by oil that flowed through it during drilling. (Photo DrL 9th Mar 2009) All except the 4th standing on the foundry floor.  The tenor is at the rear right.  The bell rear left is not a Cree bell.

 

The bells were blessed on the floor of the nave on 22nd July, 2009.
Curiously each of the bells has a different design in its inscription band border, shown here.
 
Michael Royalton-Kisch (Tower Captain) and his mother at the Dedication. Framesides: old ones on their way out, new ones on their way in.