Untitled Document
      Love's Guide to

The Bells of the City of London
St Magnus the Martyr

St Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge, Lower Thames St

Photo: Dickon Love, 25 May 2011

  • 12 bells hung for full circle ringing plus clock bell hung dead
  • Tenor: 26-3-9 in D.
  • Grid Ref: TQ329806
  • Rung from: Upstairs Ringing Room
  • Frame: 2009 Whitechapel Bell Foundry, metal.
  • Diocese: London
  • Building Listed Grade: I. Click for Heritage details.
  • Peals rung at the tower

Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Diameter Note Date FounderRetuned
® Treble Michael 5-1-1326⁷⁄₁₆" A 2008 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 2 Margaret 5-2-1427¼" G 2008 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 3 Thomas 5-3-728" F♯ 2008 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 4 Maria 5-3-829⅛" E 2008 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 5 Cedd 6-0-330½" D 2008 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 6 Edward 6-0-2130⅞" C♯ 2008 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 7 Dunstan 7-0-733⅛" B 2009 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 8 John 9-0-1136³⁄₁₆" A 2009 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 9 Erkenwald 11-0-1539⅛" G 2009 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 10 Paul 13-1-2641¾" F♯ 2008 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 11 Mellitus 18-1-1246½" E 2008 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® Tenor Magnus 26-3-952½" D 2009 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
Clock 3-3-325½" F♯ 1845 Charles & George Mears, WhitechapelNever

®  - Hung for full circle ringing
 - Hung dead


Frame Bells Year Maker Material Truss(es) Local
Main belfry 1 Ring of 12 2009 Whitechapel Bell Foundry Cast iron
Cupola 2 Service bell


How the bells are tuned

The ring of 10 scrapped in 1976

Bell Weight Diameter Note Date Founder Retuned Fate
Treble5-1-427⅝"1843Thomas Mears IINeverScrapped 1976
25-1-2628⅝"E1748Robert CatlinNeverScrapped 1976
35-3-1630½"D1714Richard PhelpsNeverScrapped 1976
46-1-630½"C♯1714Richard PhelpsNeverScrapped 1976
57-1-2634"B1714Richard PhelpsNeverScrapped 1976
68-2-1536½"A1714Richard PhelpsNeverScrapped 1976
710-0-2739½"G1714Richard PhelpsNeverScrapped 1976
812-1-543½"F♯1714Richard PhelpsNeverScrapped 1976
916-0-446"E1714Richard PhelpsNeverScrapped 1976
Tenor21-1-351¼"D1831Thomas Mears IINeverScrapped 1976

Earlier bells from the ring of 10

Bell Weight Diameter Note Date Founder Retuned Fate
Treble (of 10)F♯1714-18Richard PhelpsNeverRecast 1843
2nd (of 10)E1714-18Richard PhelpsNeverRecast 1748
Tenor (of 10)D1714Richard PhelpsNeverRecast 1831

Bells cast in the wake of the Great Fire

Bell Weight Diameter Note Date Founder Retuned Fate
Treble1672William EldridgeNeverFate unknown. Probably recast.
21672William EldridgeNeverFate unknown. Probably recast.
Tenor1672William EldridgeNeverFate unknown. Probably recast.
Saints BellsUnknownNeverRecast 1843

Bells in the tower at the time of the Great Fire

Bell Weight Diameter Note Date Founder Retuned Fate
Tenor13 or 14 cwt approx.Unknown
Clock8 or 9 cwt approx.Unknown
Sanctus1½ cwt approx.Unknown


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 The 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 1½ 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 The church was 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 A ring of 8 bells was 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 The 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 -9 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.


  • "The Lost Bells of London (3) St Magnus the Martyr, Lower Thames Street", Cook, William T (The Ringing World) 2 February 1973
  • "Not St Magnus by an extra bonus", Editorial (The Ringing World) 13 February 1987
  • "Where the Bells Ring No-Longer", Love, Dickon R (The Ringing World) 10 August 2001
  • "Whitechapel Bell Foundry and St Magnus the Martyr", Hughes, Alan (The Ringing World) 8 September 2006
  • "Bells and whistles", Musson, Jeremy (Country Life) 1 May 2008
  • "Bells to return to a restored St Magnus the Martyr", Dyke, Andrew (Bridge Ward Newsletter) 1 July 2008
  • "St Magnus' bells cast", Love, Dickon R (The Ringing World) 20 February 2009
  • "Ringing the Changes: Church to end its 60 year silence", Scarff, Oli (photo) (Daily Telegraph) 4 March 2009
  • "New bells consecrated in the City of London", Fay, Prudence (Church Times) 9 March 2009
  • "Will Lennon drop a clanger", Pomfret, Emma (The Times) 13 March 2009
  • "Bells of St Magnus consecrated", Lewis, Robert A (The Ringing World) 17 April 2009
  • "St Magnus rings again", Author unknown (Friends of City Churches Newsletter) 1 May 2009
  • "St Magnus rings out", Jeremiah, Melvyn (Friends of City Churches Newsletter) 1 December 2009
  • "Where the bells are ringing again", Love, Dickon R (The Ringing World) 18 December 2009
  • "Where the Bells Ring No-Longer", Love, Dickon R (The Ringing World) 10 August 2001
  • The former bells

    The bells having been lowered from the tower.
    Photo: Edward Yates, 9 Aug 1941, Historic England Archive

    The tenor on the right was without headstock. This was left in the tower.
    Photo: Edward Yates, 9 Aug 1941, Historic England Archive

    Photo: Edward Yates, 9 Aug 1941, Historic England Archive

    Love's Guide to the Church Bells of the City of London Page updated: 13 October 2019