The Church Bells of the City of London

ST PAUL'S CATHEDRAL

North West Tower

 

NORTH WEST TOWER

  • Ring of 12 bells
  • Additional service bell hung for ringing

SOUTH WEST TOWER

Photo DrL Aug 2002

Great Paul (Bourdon), Great Tom (hour bell) plus 2 quarter jacks.
Bourdon: 334-2-19 in E flat
Never subsequently retuned.
Upstairs Ringing Room

DETAILS OF THE BELLS

Bell

Weight

Diameter

Note

Cast

Founder
Great Tom 102-1-22 82⅝" A flat 1716 Richard Phelps
Qtr 1 12-2-9 ? 41" approx. A flat 1707 Richard Phelps
Qtr 2 24-2-26 ? 58" approx. E flat 1707 Richard Phelps
Great Paul 334-2-19 116" E flat 1881 John Taylor & Co.
Gt Tom RICHARD PHELPS MADE ME. 1716.
 
Qtr 1 RICHARD PHELPS MADE ME. 1707.
 
Qtr 2 RICHARD PHELPS MADE ME. 1707.
 
Gt Paul JOHN TAYLOR AND CO. FOUNDERS LOUGHBOROUGH MDCCCLXXXI
  VAE   o    MIHI   o   SI   o   NON   o    EVANGELISAVERO

There is some doubt regarding the inscription on the quarter bells. These need to be inspected to
identify the correct inscriptions. The 3 bells bear a Phelps border, a shield of St Paul's, and the
larger quarter jack may have some additional wording including the initials IB.
Prior to its recasting in 1709, Great Tom bore the following inscription:

TERCIUS APTAVIT ME REX EDWARDQUE VOCAVIT
SANCTI DECORE EDWARDI SIGNANTUR UT HORAE.
MADE BY PHILIP WIGHTMAN 1708
BROUGHT FROM THE RVINES OF WESTMINSTER

GALLERY

--- Great Paul ---

ASCY archive Hulton archive (The Illustrated London News, April 5th, 1884)
Great Paul on its way to the Cathedral, carried on a steam trailer.   Tolling the Great Bell of St Paul's for the death of the Duke of Albany
(The Illustrated London News, April 5th, 1884)

Photo DrL March 2000

Photo DrL March 2000

Photo DrL March 2000
Notoriously difficult to photograph, Great Paul swings in its massive wooden frame, barely contained by the tower.
Photo DrL March 2000 ASCY archive Photo DrL March 2000
The bulky headstock that attaches the bell to the wheel and bearings. These photographs taken from the pit of the bell while it is stationary and swinging. Here, the Dean of St Paul's, Dr John Moses, demonstrates how huge this bell really is. It swings at 1pm every day. While it is the largest bell in the country, it is by no means the loudest, and from outside the cathedral it rumbles quietly inside. Great Paul used to be swung by two ringers, one in a pit under each side of the bell. Jim Phillips, then Secretary of the St Paul's Guild, demonstrates how this was done.
Jim Hedgcock Collection    
Great Paul on its headstock.
(Jim Hedgcock Collection)
   
The following pictures appeared in "The Graphic", May 20th, 1882:
"GREAT PAUL:" THE NEW BELL FOR ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL

"The Graphic", May 20th, 1882

"The Graphic", May 20th, 1882
The Removal: Leaving Loughborough for London. Boring for the Clapper-bolt from the inside and outside
 
From "The Graphic", 27th May, 1882: From "The Illustrated London News" - front cover 14th January, 1882.
Testing the Great Bell for St. Paul's Cathedral, at Messrs. Taylor and Sons' Factory, Loughborough

--- Quarter Jacks ---

Photo DrL March 2000
This is about the best I could do to photograph the quarter jacks. One is clearly visible from the ceiling. The other is hidden behind the grating, which at the time was inaccessible. Hopefully some better photographs will be obtained in the future. Photograph of the quarter jacks taken c.1960 with the lip of Great Tom seen above them.

--- Great Tom ---

ASCY archive Above is an engraving of the original "Great Tom of Westminster". This was given to St Paul's Cathedral in 1698 by William III. It used to be known as "Edward of Westminster" and weighed 82-2-21. Great Tom itself is virtually inaccessible and impossible to photograph, although hopefully the editor will get a chance to attempt this in the future.