The Church Bells of the City of London

ST MARY AT HILL, EASTCHEAP

No bells
Formerly 3 bells, tenor 12-1-0 in F sharp, hung dead and clocked, removed from the tower in 1988 after a fire and scrapped in 2012
Formerly a ring of 5 bells prior to the Great Fire.

DETAILS OF THE BELLS SCRAPPED IN 2012

Bell

Weight

Diameter

Note

Cast

Founder

1

7-2-22 35?⁵⁄16" A sharp

1788

W. & T. Mears

2

8-0-21 37?" G sharp

1788

W. & T. Mears

3

12-1-0 42" F sharp

1788

W. & T. Mears

(Bells weighed at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry when scrapped in 2012.
The tenor was just flat of F sharp.)

1 W. & T. MEARS, LATE LESTER, PACK & CHAPMAN OF LONDON FECIT. 1788 (border)
2 W. & T. MEARS, LATE LESTER, PACK & CHAPMAN OF LONDON FECIT. 1788 (border)
3 HENRY FIELD WM SPENCER CH. WARDENS OF ST MARY AT HILL, JAS ANDRES GEORGE NAIRN
(same line) CH: WARDENS OF ST ANDREW HUBBARD. W. & T. MEARS OF LONDON FECIT. 1788.

HISTORY

1428-9

Records refer to a middle bell, implying that there were 3 in number.

1477-9

Records refer to a little bell, middle bell and great bell.

1487

Records mention a latyn bell to go with the sacrament.

1490

The church was rebuilt and the 3 bells from the old tower increased to 5, one bell being given by Sir John Plomer and another by John Duckling. Duckling was a fishmonger and a prominent parishioner who evidently took a great interest in the bells. Records mention a Sanctus bell.

1496-7

According to Walters, an inventory records 5 great bells and a Sanctus bell. The 4th bore the inscription "Ye gifte of John Ducklyng Ffyshmonger". This inventory also mentions a silver parcel of gilt, probably used as a sacring bell. This was sold in 1548-9.

1498

Records mention a great bell, second bell and little bell (i.e. 3 bells and not 5 as inferred by Walters).

1500

Records refer to repairs to "baldrykes of the iij bells".

1501-2

Records mention Sir John Plomer's bell.

1507-8

5 bellropes were purchased.

1508

William Smith tuned the bells, but he made a bad job of it, and Master Green was paid 1s. 8d. for counsel "how to take action for cuttin of our three bells". A plaint was entered and Smith was arrested, but though "the matter was pleaded to an issue", the result was not stated. It seems that Smith was ordered to recast at least one of the bells and somebody was employed to draw up the indentures of an agreement between him and the parish under the direction of 2 arbitrators.

1508-9

Records refer to dealings with "bolliso [Thomas Bullisdon] about the bell, and making bod with billisdo for the great bell, carriage of two bells from bylisdones to our church."

1509-10

Records exist re the arbritration between the parish and Bullisdon for the bells.

1510-11

Records mention William Smith, bellfounder at Aldgate, and ascertaining "wheyr Smythe's bell were tewneabill of not", carrriage of two bells to the founders, Smith for casting the fourth bell and "for making the scripture about the bell", new frame and hanging bells, payment to Coulverton [Culverdon] for new metal for the great bell, payment to Bullisdon.

1521-2

Records mention a clapper fir the sacring bell.

1522-3

Records mention recasting the sanctus bell.

1552

Inventory records 5 great bells and a Sanctus bell ("in the steple v gret belles & one Santes bell").

1666

Building burned in the Great Fire, destroying the bells.

1670-6

Church restored by Wren, but the old tower stood until 1780, when it was rebuilt.

1672

Two bells were hung in the repaired tower.

1753

A new headstock was provided for the tenor, and both bells were rehung.

1788

The 2 bells were replaced by 3 bells.

1940

Church slightly damaged in air raids.

1988

The bells were badly cracked in a fire and removed to the Whitechapel Bell Foundry for storage.

2012

The bells, having languished in the yard of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry for many years, were scrapped.  St Mary at Hill now ranks as the only City of London church without any bells.  The metal of the tenor was used in the 7th and tenor of the Royal Jubilee Bells (at St James Garlickhythe).