The Church Bells of the City of London

ST MARY LE BOW, Cheapside

Photo DrL 7th May 2006

12 Bells
Tenor: 41-3-21 in C
Frame: 1961 Mears & Stainbank, made of Yang (Dipterocarpus terminatus)
Never subsequently retuned.
Grid Ref: TQ324811
Upstairs Ringing Room
PEALS
? Short Sound Clip of the 1933 Gillett & Johnston ring
(Used by the BBC as a time signal)

 

The Former Gillett & Johnston Ring

The Former Whitechapel Ring

DETAILS OF THE BELLS

Bell

Weight

Diameter

Note

Cast

Founder

Treble

5-3-21

27?"

G

1956

Mears & Stainbank

2

5-3-10

29"

F

1956

Mears & Stainbank

3

6-1-7

30"

E

1956

Mears & Stainbank

4

6-2-17

32"

D

1956

Mears & Stainbank

5 7-3-27 34" C 1956 Mears & Stainbank
6 8-3-27 35" B 1956 Mears & Stainbank
7 10-0-20 38" A 1956 Mears & Stainbank
8 12-1-11 41" G 1956 Mears & Stainbank
9 17-3-17 46" F 1956 Mears & Stainbank
10 21-2-23 49" E 1956 Mears & Stainbank
11 29-1-5 54" D 1956 Mears & Stainbank
Tenor 41-3-21 61?" C 1956 Mears & Stainbank

INSCRIPTIONS

1. DECLARE HIS GLORY AMONG THE HEATHEN HIS WONDER AMONG ALL PEOPLE

ALBERT ARTHUR HUGHES OF THE WHITECHAPEL BELL FOUNDRY
BIRTHPLACE OF BOW BELLS SINCE 1738
NAMED ME
KATHERINE

 

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2. WHOSO OFFERETH PRAISE GLORIFIETH ME

JOHN STANLEY MASON
MASTER OF THE ANCIENT SOCIETY OF COLLEGE YOUTHS
NAMED ME
FABIAN

 

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3. HIS NAME ALONE IS EXCELLENT, HIS GLORY IS ABOVE THE EARTH AND HEAVEN

LAURENCE KING F.R.I.B.A.
ARCHITECT
NAMED ME
CHRISTOPHER

 

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4. IN HIS TEMPLE DOTH EVERYONE SPEAK OF HIS GLORY

THE BELL OF THE PARISH OF
ST. MARGARET MOYSES
STEPHEN BERNARD GOSLING, WILLIAM JOHN AYLING
NAMED ME
MARGARET

 

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5. THE GLORY OF THE LORD SHALL ENDURE FOR EVER

THE BELL OF THE PARISH OF
ST. MILDRED BREAD STREET
STANLEY ARTHUR PHILLIPS
CHURCHWARDEN
NAMED ME
MILDRED

 

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6. THEY SHALL SING IN THE WAYS OF THE LORD FOR GREAT IS THE GLORY OF THE LORD

THE BELL OF THE PARISH OF
ST. FAITH UNDER ST PAULS
SIDNEY ERNEST SANDLE M.C., C.C.
NAMED ME
FAITH

 

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7. I WILL SPEAK OF THE GLORIOUS HONOUR OF THY MAJESTY AND OF THY WONDROUS WORKS

THE BELL OF THE PARISH OF
ST. AUGUSTINE WATLING STREET
CHRISTOPHER FRANCIS WILSON
CHURCHWARDEN
NAMED ME
AUGUSTINE

 

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8. NOT UNTO US O LORD NOT UNTO US BUT UNTO THY NAME GIVE GLORY

THE BELL OF THE PARISH OF
ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST
ERNEST ALFRED BEARD
CHURCHWARDEN
NAMED ME
JOHN

 

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9. GIVE UNTO THE LORD THE GLORY DUE UNTO HIS NAME. WORSHIP THE LORD IN THE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS

THE BELL OF THE PARISH OF
ALL HALLOWS BREAD STREET
STUART MAXWELL ROBERTS O.B.E., T.D., C.C.
CHURCHWARDEN
NAMED ME
TIMOTHY

 

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10. THY SAINTS SHALL BLESS THEE, THEY SHALL SPEAK OF THE GLORY OF THY KINGDOM AND TALK OF THY POWER

THE BELL OF THE PARISH OF
ST. PANCRAS SOPER LANE
STANLEY JAMESON TILL M.C.
CHURCHWARDEN
NAMED ME
PANCRAS

 

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11. O LORD MY GOD, I WILL GLORIFY THY NAME FOR EVERMORE

THE BELL OF THE PARISH OF
ALL HALLOWS HONEY LANE
SIR CUTHBERT ACKROYD BART. LORD MAYOR
CHURCHWARDEN
NAMED ME
CUTHBERT

 

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12. NOW LETTEST THOU THY SERVANT DEPART IN PEACE, FOR MINE EYES HAVE SEEN THY SALVATION

THE BELL OF THE PARISH OF
ST. MARY LE BOW
HUNG FOR CURFEW 1334 DESTROYED BY FIRE 1666
RECAST 1669. RECAST 1738
DESTROYED BY ENEMY ACTION 1941
RECAST 1956
HUGH EVAN HOPKINS O.B.E., M.A. RECTOR
HOWARD GEORGE HICKLENTON
JULIEN FREDERICK CHARLES BENNETT D.L.
CHURCHWARDENS
JOHN H.L. TRUSTRAM M.B.E., M.A., VESTRY CLERK
NAMED ME
BOW

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WHITECHAPEL BELL FOUNDRY

LONDON

NOTES ON THE FRAME

Jim Phillips (former ASCY Librarian and former timber merchant) writes: One needs to travel some 1,800 miles from Indonesia, across the South China Sea, to Thailand for the frames origins. It was cut to size in Thailand from a timber known as Yang (Dipterocarpus terminatus. Family Dipterocarpaceae) along with the frames of Great Yarmouth & St John the Divine, Kennington. The large evergreen tree grows to a height of 150 ft or more and it is some 70 ft to the first branch. The girth is some 12 ft or more. The bell frames are free of knots.

HISTORY

1469

First known reference to Bow Bells. Stow says the old steeple was built in this year.

1472

John Donne died this year and left a bequest for the upkeep of Bow bell.

1515

William Copland, churchwarden, gave a tenor to the church to augment the ring to 5.

1552

Record of 5 bells and 2 sanctus bells in the tower ("Item Fyve greate belles. Item two Sanctus belles").

1603

Society of Cheapside Scholars was founded.

1635

Record of 6 bells in the tower.

1662

Society of Cheapsde Scholars ceased to exist.

1666

Tower and bells destroyed in the Great Fire.

1669

Tenor cast by John Hodson and hung in a temporary structure. It weighed about 52 cwt.

1670 - 80

Church rebuilt by Wren. An 1866 commentator recorded that "when the church was rebuilt, the belfry was prepared for twelve bells, but only eight were placed".

1677

Front 7 bells cast for the new church and hung with the 1669 tenor in a new frame by John and Christopher Hodson.

1708

Record of "eight large unringable bells".

1734

23rd Feb.

The Stamford Mercury records the cracking of the tenor: "Last Tuesday the Tenor at Bow Church in Cheapside, which was accounted one of the finest Bells in England, was crack'd as they were ringing about nine o'Clock at Night.

1738

Tenor recast by Thomas Lester.

1738

12th Oct.

The Norwich Gazette reported that "Yesterday the new Tenor of Bow Church was brought on a Carriage, and hoisted into the Belfry. It weighs 5958 lb.

1752

Citizens petitioned the vestry for recasting the bells and adding two more.

1762

Front 7 recast and 2 bells added to make 10 by Lester & Pack.

1762

4th Jun.

The new ring of 10 was first rung.

1822

There were concerns regarding the safety of the steeple.

1823

A new clock was provided by Thwaites and Reed that struck the hours on the tenor and quarter chimes on 4 other bells.

1824

Record of 10 bells.

1836

26th Feb.

The Times wrote: "These fine bells have lately been put in proper order, and a very competent band of ringers appointed, which have not been had for the last 40 years; but the parish-officers have put a decayed parishioner to be steeple-keeper, who has no more knowledge of bells than my old shoe, and therefore performs by deputy. Why not appoint a competent individual?"

1837

  Thomas Mears did some remedial work in the belfry.  Whitechapel Day Book: "July 1837. To men's time 2 days screwing up the Bells and Ironwork of Frame. 2 Iron Bolts and wedges."

1881

2 trebles added to make 12 by Mears & Stainbank.

1904

Bells rehung, but not very successfully.

1905

The quarter chimes were started. They were composed by C. V. Stanford.

1907

Bells rehung by Mears & Stainbank.

1926

Bells declared unringable.

1933

8 of the bells were recast (all except 4,5,9 and 11) by Gillett & Johnston, the gift of H. Gordon Selfridge.

1941

11th May

Bells destroyed by a German air raid during the Second World War.

1956

A new ring of 12 was cast by Mears & Stainbank.

1961

 

New frame built and bells hung in it.

1961

21st Dec.

Bells rung for the first time.

GALLERY

marylebow_currenttenor.jpg (30387 bytes)  
The church in 1912
(from Spitalfields Life).

Tenor bell "Bow".

 
 
The ringing room in 2012. The belfry in 2012.