Untitled Document
      Love's Guide to

The Bells of the City of London
 

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Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Diameter Note Date FounderRetuned
® 1 4-3-2526" A 1988 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 2 5-1-2327¼" G 1988 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 3 5-3-228" F♯ 1988 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 4 6-0-1629½" E 1988 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 5 6-2-1131" D 1988 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 6 6-3-2431¾" C♯ 1988 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 7 7-1-833¼" B 1988 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 8 9-0-536" A 1988 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 9 12-1-940" G 1988 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 10 14-2-1042½" F♯ 1988 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 11 20-1-2347½" E 1988 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 12 29-1-154" D 1988 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® Sharp 2nd 5-0-1526⅝" G♯ 1988 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
Service bell 5-1-2628½" D♯ 1725 Abraham Rudhall II, GloucesterNever

®  - Hung for full circle ringing

Bellframes

Position
Frame Bells Year Maker Material Truss(es) Local
Layout
Lower tier 1 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 1988 Whitechapel Bell Foundry Cast iron

Upper tier 2 Sharp 2nd 1988 Whitechapel Bell Foundry Cast iron

Spire 3 Service bell

The original ring of 12 bells

Bell Weight*Weight
(Pitch after tuning in 1922)
Diameter Note Date Founder Retuned Fate
1 (of 12)1727Abraham Rudhall IIRecast 1758
2 (of 12)1727Abraham Rudhall IITransferred to Fulham 1758
3 (of 12)6-1-271725Abraham Rudhall IIRecast 1758
4 (of 12)6-2-266-1-1130"1725Abraham Rudhall IITransferred to Perth 1988
5 (of 12)7-3-157-1-2732⅝"1725Abraham Rudhall IITransferred to Perth 1988
6 (of 12)8-2-228-1-434"1725Abraham Rudhall IITransferred to Perth 1988
7 (of 12)10-1-209-3-1936"1725Abraham Rudhall IITransferred to Perth 1988
8 (of 12)12-2-211-3-1939½"1725Abraham Rudhall IITransferred to Perth 1988
9 (of 12)15-2-1014-3-942½"1725Abraham Rudhall IITransferred to Perth 1988
10 (of 12)17-2-1716-3-045⅝"1725Abraham Rudhall IITransferred to Perth 1988
11 (of 12)23-2-1423-0-050¾"1725Abraham Rudhall IITransferred to Perth 1988
12 (of 12)31-2-1830-1-2056"1726Abraham Rudhall IITransferred to Perth 1988

* Source of weight figures: M&S after tuning in 1922

The front 3 were recast/supplied as follows:

Bell Weight* Diameter Note Date Founder Retuned Fate
1 (of 12)26¾"1758Abraham Rudhall IITransferred to Perth 1988
2 (of 12)1758Abraham Rudhall IIRecast 1770
3 (of 12)29"1758Abraham Rudhall IITransferred to Perth 1988

* Source of weight figures: M&S after tuning in 1922

The 2nd was recast

Bell Weight* Diameter Note Date Founder Retuned Fate
2 (of 12)28"1770Thomas RudhallTransferred to Perth 1988

* Source of weight figures: M&S after tuning in 1922

History

1536 - 1538. The Churchwardens Accounts mention the casting of one of the bells and work on the frame. [1]
1538 - 1540. The Churchwardens Accounts mention the acquisition of 4 bell ropes. In this period a saunce bell was given to the church.
c 1540 The bells were recast into 3, plus sanctus and sacring bells. They were rehung in a new frame. [2]
1542 St Martin's was made a separate parish by letters patent of Henry VIII.
c 1544 The chruch was rebuilt. A new treble was added to the 3 by a founder in Houndsditch.
1572 The tenor (of 4) was recast and was made heavier in the process. [3]
1581 The tenor (of 4) recast by Hugh Walker. His first attempt was unsatisfactory and it had to be recast a second time. [4]
1584 The whole ring of 4 was recast by Robert Mot, paid for by 67 named subscribers (costing £9 8s.).
1586 Hugh Walker recast the treble and added another bell to increase the number to 5 [5]
1592 The tenor was recast by Laurence Wright (at a cost of £10).
1593 The 4th was recast by Laurence Wright.
1663 The tower was rebuilt.
1708 There was a record of 6 bells in the tower.
1714 Paterson noted "eight bells newly cast and hung up this month of March 1714".
1721 The first stone of the new church was laid on 19 Mar. An act of Parliament had been obtained to enable the parishioners to rebuild. It was designed by James Gibbs.
1724 8 new bells were ordered on 3 Nov to replace the existing bells. The Norwich Gazette reported on 28 Nov "We hear that His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales has signified his Intention to present a ring of Ten Bells to the new Church of St. Martins in the Fields. There is a Talk, That most or all of the Eight Bell Rings in London will be augmented to Ten or Twelve, and those of Six to Eight or Ten." On 8 Dec it was resolved that 2 more bells be added to the number agreed upon. On 15 Dec the St James' Evening Post reported "...The Design was to have had 12 Bells, but the tower being taken in six inches of a side, has rendered it incapable of holding so many ... "
1725 It was agreed to go for a full ring of 12 bells. The order went to Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester at a cost of Ł1264.18.3 (including old and new metal).
1726 The 10 bells were delivered from Gloucester on 24 May. Rudhall clearly had difficulty with the trebles (of 12) as they were not ready at first. When the College Youths rang the first peal on them 3 days before the consecration of the church, in 1726 it was one of Grandsire Caters (i.e. on 10 bells). The College Youths went on to attempt another peal on 7 or 14 Oct, but a rope broke after 3 hours. The new church was consecrated on 20 Oct. [6]
1727 Rudhall cast 2 trebles to make up the ring to 12. [7]
1728 There was a peal ringing competition on 18 Mar between the College Youths and another band of London bellringers. The College Youths were noted to have produced a particularly fine performance. On 22 Oct the gudgeons on the tenor broke causing consternation. [8] [9]
1737 The Society of Union Scholars rang a peal.of Grandsire Triples on 24 Feb. [10]
1758 The 3 trebles were replaced by Abraham Rudhall. One of them went to All Saints, Fulham (where it remains). The other two were recast.
1770 The 2nd (of 12) was recast by Thomas Rudhall.
1788 The first ever peal of Stedman Cinques was rung here, on 6 Oct. [11]
1840 The Service Bell was rehung by Thomas Mears.
1922 The bells were retuned and rehung by Mears and Stainbank in a new iron frame.
1987 The 12 bells were removed and sold to Perth in Western Australia as part of the Australian Bicentenary celebrations, with the original intention of being hung in a new tower to be built at the University of Western Australia. This tower was never built and the bells remained in storage for a while.
1988 A new ring of 12 bells (plus sharp 2nd) was cast and hung in a new frame lower in the tower (preserving the old 1922 frame) by Whitechapel. The metal was provided by the Australian Government.
[1] Item payde for casting of our belles xiij li ; Item paid for the frame of our belles to the carpenter Cxiij s iiij d (Churchwardens' Accounts)
[2] casting the little bell at Hounsditch, and payment to the founder (xl s. viiij d) (Churchwardens' Accounts)
[3] iij li ij s. iiij d. for newe casting the for the bell and putting more newe metell to it (Churchwardens' Accounts)
[4] Taking down the great bell and hanging it up again, payment to the bellfounders "the first time" and taking it to the founders and back again "the second time". Payments to Hughe Walker the bellfounder for changing the old bell which weighed 9-1-6 and for 3qrs of extra metal, expenses regarding Walker’s bond to new cast the bell "if any fault should be". (Churchwardens' Accounts)
[5] For ye newe Treable Bell & for ye newe casting of ye old fore bell, xiij li. vij s. (Churchwardens' Accounts)
[6] Last Monday a Sett of Ringers, call'd the College Youths, began to ring a Peal of 5000 and odd Changes on St. Martin's Bells: When they had rung 3 Hours incessantly, one of the Bell-Ropes broke; to the great Disappointment of the Gentlemen, and a numerous Audience in the Street, (or one Hour more would have compleated their Purpose". (Norwich Gazette, 15 Oct 1726)
[7] The 10 bells lately hung up in St.Martin’s Church Tower, are to be made 12, by the addition of 2 Treble Bells or Leaders, to be cast by the same person who cast the 10, as also those at St. Bride’s. and they are to be ready before the 28th of May, then to be rung for the first time. (Norwich Gazette, 15 Apr 1727)
[8] Monday, 18 March ... At St. Martin's in the Fields last Thursday a Ringing-Match was begun, to be perform'd between a Set of Londoners and a Set of the College Youths. The former began at One a Clock, and continued till half an Hour after Four: The latter began yesterday and held it 5 Hours and a Quarter, and was allowed to be the finest Performance yet known of that Nature. (Norwich Gazette, 23 Mar 1728)
[9] London, October 24. ... On Friday Night last as they were ringing the Bells at St. Martin's in the Fields, one of the Gudgins of the Tenor broke, but the Bell fell no further than the Floor; however, it frightned all the Ringers so that they threw up their Bells, and ran to the Sides of the Steeple. The Bell is 3300 Weight. (Norwich Gazette, 26 Oct 1728)
[10] London, March 1. On Thursday last the Society of Union Scholars rang, at the Parish Church of St. Martin’s in the Fields, in 3 Hours and 10 Minutes, the first true and compleat Peal of 5040 Grandsire Trebles; which has been thought an Impossibility by the greatest Proficients in that Exercise, but was composed by Mr. John Denmead, a Member of the said Society. (Norwich Gazette, 5 Mar 1737)
[11] Monday last the Society of College Youths rang on the peal of twelve bells at the church of St. Martin in the Fields, a true and compleat peal of 6,204 Stedman's Principle, in 4 hours and 47 minutes, being the greatest number of changes of that peal ever rung in England. This very curious and intricate composition was invented in the last century, but was, by the connoisseurs of the present day, deemed impracticable to be achieved, until these darling sons of distinguished merit have, by this, in addition to many other meritorious performances, shown to their contempories that industry and resolution, united, will ever get through the most arduous task. (London General Advertiser, 8 Oct 1788)

Articles

  • "Photographs of the installation of the new ring of 12", Garton, D (The Ringing World) 16 December 1988
  • "The Bells of St Martin's, London", Griffin, A (The Ringing World) 9 June 1989
  • "Foundry Focus - work at Whitechapel", Unattributed (The Ringing World) 20 July 1990
  • "Historic bells abandoned in Perth", Dennis, R (The Ringing World) 30 October 1992
  • "The Bells of the Church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London", Knewstub, D (The Ringing World) 19 April 2002
  • Recent Peals
    The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
    2022-10-075040 Surprise Minor (7m)
    2022-10-075040 Doubles (11m)
    2022-10-065040 Stedman Triples
    2022-10-065040 Surprise Minor (11m)
    2022-10-065024 Lessness Surprise Major
    2022-10-065120 Spliced Surprise Major (4m)
    2022-10-065040 Spliced Surprise Major (8m)
    2022-10-065056 Cambridge Surprise Major
    2022-10-065040 Surprise Minor (7m)
    2022-10-055120 Lessness Surprise Major
    2022-10-055040 Cambridge Surprise Royal
    2022-10-055040 Windy Gyle Alliance Major
    2022-10-055040 Spliced Surprise Minor (26m)
    2022-10-045040 Surprise Minor (7m)
    2022-10-045024 Ruthenium Surprise Major
    2022-10-045040 Surprise Minor (7m)
    2022-10-045184 Spliced Surprise Major (8m)
    2022-10-045088 Lincolnshire Surprise Major
    2022-10-045088 Preston Surprise Major
    2022-10-045120 Kintbury Delight Major
    2022-10-035040 Doubles (21m)
    2022-10-035152 Ytterbium Surprise Major
    2022-10-035040 Surprise Minor (3m)
    2022-10-035040 Swindon Surprise Royal
    2022-10-035040 Surprise Minor (11m)
    Recent Quarter Peals
    The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
    2022-10-071320 Surprise Minor (3m)
    2022-10-071272 Cambridge Surprise Minor
    2022-10-071260 Plain Bob Minor
    2022-10-061320 Bourne Surprise Minor
    2022-10-061250 Yorkshire Surprise Major
    2022-10-061320 Spliced Surprise Minor (4m)
    2022-10-061272 Minimus (5m)
    2022-10-061280 Doranwood Treble Place Major
    2022-10-061320 Wearmouth Surprise Minor
    2022-10-061344 Superlative Surprise Major
    2022-10-061260 Buxton Bob Minor
    2022-10-061272 Cambridge Surprise Minor
    2022-10-061260 Grandsire Triples
    2022-10-061280 Superlative Surprise Major
    2022-10-061260 Grandsire Doubles
    2022-10-061290 Doubles and Triples (1m)
    2022-10-061260 2m Doubles
    2022-10-061280 Cornwall Surprise Major
    2022-10-061260 Plain Bob Doubles
    2022-10-061260 Doubles (1p/4m/6v)
    2022-10-061269 London Surprise Minor
    2022-10-061280 Spliced Surprise Major (6m)
    2022-10-061260 St Clement's College Bob Minor
    2022-10-061320 Surprise Minor (2m)
    2022-10-061440 Spliced Plain Minor (4m)
    Full list of peals on Bellboard here
    Full list of quarters on Bellboard here


    Love's Guide to the Church Bells of the City of London Page updated: 7 October 2022