The Church Bells of the City of London

ST MAGNUS THE MARTYR, London Bridge

Photo DrL 25th May 2011
12 ringing bells and 1 clock bell
Tenor:26-3-9. in D (Nominal 586.1Hz)
Frame: 2009 Whitechapel
Bells rung from upstairs ringing room
PEALS
& "Where the Bells Ring No Longer"
by Dickon Love

Bell

Weight

Diameter

Note

Cast

Founder

Treble

5-1-13 267/16" A

2008

Whitechapel

2

5-2-14 27?" G 2008 Whitechapel

3

5-3-7 28" F sharp 2008 Whitechapel

4

5-3-8 29⅛" E 2008 Whitechapel

5

6-0-3 30?" D 2008 Whitechapel

6

6-0-21 30⅞" C sharp 2008 Whitechapel

7

7-0-7 33⅛" B 2009 Whitechapel

8

9-0-11 363/16" A 2009 Whitechapel

9

11-0-15 39⅛" G 2009 Whitechapel

10

13-1-26 41?" F sharp 2008 Whitechapel

11

18-1-12 46?" E 2008 Whitechapel

Tenor

26-3-9 52?" D 2009 Whitechapel

Clock

3-3-3 25?" 1845 Charles & George Mears

INSCRIPTIONS

1. sancte michael ora pro nobis                     1


THE GIFT OF
THE WORSHIPFUL COMPANY
OF PLUMBERS


S.D.R.B.
1933 - 2005

20

08

WHITECHAPEL

2. sancta margareta ora pro nobis
IN MEMORY OF
  DOUGLAS BRADSHAW
MARY A. BRADSHAW
NORMAN S. MAYCOCK
ESTHER MAYCOCK
1903 - 1981
1903 - 1995
1910 - 1985
1906 - 1985
PARENTS OF DEREK AND PRUNELLA BRADSHAW,
GRANDPARENTS OF GRAHAM BRADSHAW.


2

20

08

WHITECHAPEL

3. sancte thomas cantvarensis ora pro nobis

IN MEMORY OF
OLIVE ROGERS
1912 - 2004
AND
THE LONDON COUNTY ASSOCIATION
OF CHURCH BELL RINGERS
(LATE THE ST JAMES? SOCIETY)
1824 - 2007


3

20

08

WHITECHAPEL

4. sancta maria ora pro nobis

THE GIFT OF
THE KIPPIN FAMILY
IN MEMORY OF
CHARLES AND JESSIE KIPPIN


4

20

08

WHITECHAPEL

5. sancte cedd ora pro nobis

IN MEMORY OF
AIR COMMODORE JOHN STANLEY MASON CBE 1917-2007
MASTER ASCY 1955 - 1957

AND IN MEMORY OF HIS WIFE
WINIFRED LUCY MASON 1915 - 2007

REMEMBERED ALWAYS BY JULIA SLATER, THEIR NIECE
 


5

20

08

WHITECHAPEL

6. sancte edwardvs confessor ora pro nobis


FOR RONA

?OUR ETERNAL SUMMER
SHALL NOT FADE?

FROM TIM


6

20

08

WHITECHAPEL

7. sancte dvnstan ora pro nobis


THE GIFT OF
PAST MASTERS
OF
THE ANCIENT SOCIETY OF COLLEGE YOUTHS

 

7

20

08

WHITECHAPEL

8. sancte iohannes baptiste ora pro nobis


THE GIFT OF
THE WORSHIPFUL COMPANY
OF FISHMONGERS


8

20

08

WHITECHAPEL

9. sancte erkenwald ora pro nobis

THE GIFT OF THE
MIDDLESEX COUNTY ASSOCIATION
&
LONDON DIOCESAN GUILD
OF
CHURCH BELL RINGERS
 


TO COMMEMORATE
WILLIAM PYE
MASTER
1910 ? 1935
9

20

08

WHITECHAPEL

10. sancte pavlvs ora pro nobis

THE GIFT OF
JOHN HUGHES-D?AETH
IN MEMORY OF HIS FATHER
MICHAEL HUGHES-D?AETH

AND OF
PAUL MOUNSEY AND DIANA ANDERSON
IN MEMORY OF THEIR PARENTS
CHARLES AND JENNIE MOUNSEY


10

20

08

WHITECHAPEL

11. sancte mellitvs ora pro nobis

WE TWELVE BELLS WERE CAST IN 2008
TO REPLACE AN EARLIER RING OF TEN
REMOVED FROM THE TOWER IN 1940,
AND SCRAPPED IN 1976.

FR J. PHILIP WARNER ? CARDINAL RECTOR
DICKON R. LOVE ? TOWER KEEPER
 

 


11

20

08

WHITECHAPEL

12. sancte magnvs ora pro nobis

THE GIFT OF
SIMON R FRASER
AND
JANET E GAYLER

RING OUT IN FRIENDSHIP, PEACE AND HARMONY

 


12

20

08

WHITECHAPEL

EARLIER BELLS

Bell

Weight*

Diameter

Note

Cast

Founder

Treble

5-1-4 27⅝" F sharp

1843

Thomas Mears II

2

5-1-26 28⅝" E 1748 Robert Catlin

3

5-3-16 30?" D 1714 Richard Phelps

4

6-1-6 30?" C sharp 1714 Richard Phelps

5

7-1-26 34" B 1714 Richard Phelps

6

8-2-15 36?" A 1714 Richard Phelps

7

10-0-27 39?" G 1714 Richard Phelps

8

12-1-5 43?" F sharp 1714 Richard Phelps

9

16-0-4 46" E 1714 Richard Phelps

Tenor

21-1-3 51?" D 1831 Thomas Mears II

* As measured at Whitechapel at the time of scrapping in 1976.

1. THOMAS MEARS FOUNDER LONDON 1843
2. THOS ? GILLMORE ? IOS ? ISMAY ? THOS ? HUX ? CHURCH ? WARDENS ? RT ? CATLIN FECIT 1748 C.N.
3. THE GIFT OF MR RICHARD WEST OF ST MAGNUS PARISH: FISHMONGER. R:PHELPS FECIT: 1714
4. RICHARD CAMBRIDGE AND THOMAS PRESTON, ESQRS : BOUNTIFUL BENEFACTORS, 1714
5. SIR : GEO : MERTINS KT : ALD OF THIS WARD & SIR FRA : FORBES KT : ALD : OF DOWGATE WARD BENEFACTORS 1714 R : P : FE:
6. RICHARD TUSTIAN, GENT: BENEFACTOR. RICHARD PHELPS MADE THESE BELLS 1714
7. RICHARD PHELPS MADE ME 1714
8. THESE FIVE BIGGEST BELLS WERE ALL MADE AT THE CHARGE OF THE UNITED PARISHES OF ST: MAGNUS AND ST: MARGARET 1714 BY R:PHELPS
9.   
MR

:

CHARLES WALKDEN CH : W : OF ST MARGARET NEW FISH STREET
WILLIAM STANDART
MR : GEORGE BROWNE CH : W : OF ST MAGNUS THE MARTYR
: NOY WILLEY
R : PHELPS 1714  O  I GUY SEXTON O
10. T. MEARS OF LONDON FECIT, 1831  
WILLIAM SMITHERS
HADAZER WHITFIELD SHARP
} ST MAGNUS THE MARTYR
THOMAS LINDLEY
JOSEPH CARPENTER
} ST MARGARETS NEW FISH STREET
EDMUND RONALDS
WILLIAM MATTHEWS
} ST MICHAELS CROOKED LANE

CHURCH WARDENS

C. C. AND G. MEARS FOUNDERS LONDON 1845

The RT on the second has a star under the T.

HISTORY

1638-40 There was an annual contract for looking after the bells, frame and fittings, given to Robert Turner the Carpenter.  There were 5 bells and a Saints bell in the tower.
1641 4th (of 5) bells rehung by Francis Lenrett.
1652 All the bells were rehung, for 19s 6d.
1666 Church destroyed in the Great Fire, which itself started near the church. It also destroyed the neighbouring church of St Margaret, New Fish Street. The latter was not rebuilt and the two parishes were united.
1669 Bell metal from the fire was recovered and weighed. The records confirm that in addition to the 5 bells, there was a Saints Bell and a Clock Bell. It appears that 47 cwt of metal was recovered from the ring of five, which might suggest a ring with a tenor of about 13 or 14 cwt. However this represents a minimum weight figure as other metal might have been lost in the first. The Saints bell was 1? cwt is fairly typical of its type. The clock bell however was rather large at 8-9 cwt.
1672 3 new bells were cast by William Eldridge of Chertsey for ?33.1.0 plus the old bell metal.
1673 A bellframe was commissioned and made by Thomas Warner, Carpenter to hang the tenor and the Saints Bell (a 2-tier frame with the Saints bell hanging above the tenor). This frame was erected such that the bells could be rung from underneath using bellropes (which were also ordered). The work on the frame cost ?38.10s.  The remaining bells are assumed to have been stored in the church.
1676 Church rebuilt by Wren.
1703-6 A new tower was completed rising to a height of 185 feet.  The model for the steeple was probably made by 1684 (very closely based on that of St Charles Borrom? by Fran?is Aiguillon in Antwerp). It isn?t known precisely when the tower was finished, nor what became of the freestanding bellframe. It seems likely that the 3 bells and Saints bell were transferred to the new tower.
1713 The tenor cracked.
1714 Ring of 8 bells cast by Richard Phelps and hung in the tower.  The bells were augmented to 10 by Phelps within a couple of years as by 1718 they were recorded as being a ten.  These trebles were said to be a gift from two ringing societies, the Eastern Youths and the British Scholars.
1748 The 2nd was recast by Robert Catlin.
1831 Tenor became cracked and was recast by Thomas Mears.
1843 The treble was said to have been "worn out" and, together with the Saints bell, were scrapped while a new treble was cast by Thomas Mears.
1846 A new clock bell was installed. It was provided by BR & J Moore, who had earlier bought the bell from Thomas Mears. This is the 1845 bell currently in the tower.
1917 Bells overhauled by Mears & Stainbank. The treble, 3rd, 4th and tenor were rehung with entirely new fittings. The 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th were lifted out and the gudgeons and bearings turned afresh and refitted. The ends of the 5th, 6th and 7th pits were strengthened with angle plates.  The frame on the window side of the tenor was strengthened with ironwork, and the tenor was quarter turned.
1940 The bells were removed from the tower and stored in the church lest they be destroyed in the War. The roof and ceiling of the church were damaged in the air raids, but the tower was safe, and indeed the bells would not have been damaged.
1949 Negotiations for rehanging the bells began with Mears & Stainbank, although the church was unwilling to commit substantial sums to undertake this work.
1951 The bells were taken to the Whitechapel where they were found to be very heavily corroded indeed and although one or two were believed to be cracked the matter of the soundness of the bells could not be established without cleaning. At the expense of Mears & Stainbank, and with the approval of the church, the bells were removed from Whitechapel for cleaning inside and out by sand blasting after which it was clear that four of them were indeed cracked. Negotiations continued in to the early 1950s with a number of detailed proposals being submitted by Mears who, to assist the church with their financial difficulties, offered a 5-year interest free loan.
1971 The bells had been moved about the foundry premised as rebuilding work went on. For some of the time they were stored under railway arches in Bethnal Green. They were finally moved into the big yard at Whitechapel.
1976 After a long period of indecision by the church, pressure was put on them and a number of alternative and less costly schemes were proposed. The foundry also offered to assist in finding donors/sponsors to help with financing and again offered an interest free loan. All these offers were ignored. The church finally instructed the foundry to scrap the bells, which they did. The tenor was used briefly in a performance of Tchaikovsky's "1812" in the Royal Albert Hall before it followed the same fate as the other nine. The revenue from the scrapped bells went to the church with an amount deducted to settle basic insurance premiums owed for the period 1972-6.
2008/09 12 new bells were cast for the church at Whitechapel, using Gillett & Johnston profiles.  They were consecrated by the Bishop of London on 3rd March 2009 in the presence of the Lord Mayor and first rung for service on Easter Day.  The ringing was Dedicated on 26th October by the Archdeacon of London.
Two very notable peals were rung at St Magnus:

25th Jul 1931 - Spliced Surprise Royal (3m) - this was the first peal of Spliced Surprise Royal
20th Nov 1922 - Middlesex Surprise Royal - this method was earlier considered too difficult to be rung.

GALLERY

A photo gallery of the 2008-09 restoration of the ring of 12 bells to the tower may be found here.

Some old engravings of the church. The church in c.1910 (from Spitalfields Life) The church in c.1920 (from Spitalfields Life)

The state of the tower in 2001.

The old ringing room. The ceiling of the ringing room - trap door still open and old rope holes.
The old timber frame Dickon Love with the clock bell before it was rehung on new girders.
 
A fine peal board which had been stored in the crypt for safe keeping, pictured here before it was restored in 2009. The verger with the old St Magnus handbells.  

The restoration of 2008/09 (the full gallery may be found  here).

The clock bell Tower in scaffolding Dickon Love with bells 1,2,3
The clock bell, cleaned. The 10th The new ringing room window.
The frame is dismantled. The 5th being cast. Some of the bells.
The clock bell returns. Renovation in the ringing room.
The bellframe takes shape. Tuning.
    Dickon Love with the 11th.
The bells return to the church.
Peter Scott and Tim Joiner celebrate the completion of the hanging (photo taken from the Monument). The Consecration: the Bishop of London (Richard Chartres), the Priest-in-Charge (Philip Warner) and the Tower Keeper (Dickon Love). The bells in the nave.
 
The bells photographed from above.