Untitled Document
      Love's Guide to

The Bells of the City of London
St Mary at Hill

St Mary at Hill, Eastcheap

Photo: Dickon R Love

Bells scrapped in 2012

Bell Weight Diameter Note Date Founder Retuned Fate
Treble7-2-2234 15/16A♯1788William & Thomas MearsNeverRemoved 1988, scrapped 2012
28-0-2137¼G♯1788William & Thomas MearsNeverRemoved 1988, scrapped 2012
Tenor12-1-042"F♯1788William & Thomas MearsNeverRemoved 1988, scrapped 2012


1428 Records refer to a middle bell, implying that there were 3 in number. [1]
1477 Records refer to a little bell, middle bell and great bell. [2]
1487 Records mention a latyn bell to go with the sacrament. [3]
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. [4]
1496 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. [5]
1498 Records mention a great bell, second bell and little bell (i.e. 3 bells and not 5 as inferred by Walters). [6]
1500 Records refer to repairs to "baldrykes of the iij bells". [7]
1501 Records mention Sir John Plomer's bell. [8]
1507 Record of 5 bells in the tower as 5 bellropes were purchased. [9]
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. Records refer to dealings with Thomas Bullisdon. [10]
1509 Records exist re the arbritration between the parish and Bullisdon for the bells. [11]
1510 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. [12]
1521 Records mention a clapper for the sacring bell. [13]
1522 The sanctus bell was recast. [14]
1553 Record of 5 bells and a sanctus bell. [15]
1666 The church was destroyed in the Great Fire, which destroyed the bells.
1670 Church restored by Wren, finished in 1676, 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.
1780 The old tower was rebuilt.
1788 The 2 bells were replaced by 3 bells cast by William and Thomas Mears. St Mary at Hill appears in Edward Simmons (bellhanger) list of peals "hung and repaired).
1940 The church was 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 at that point ranked 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).
[1] (Churchwarden accounts 1428-9)
[2] (Churchwarden accounts 1477-9)
[3] (Churchwarden accounts 1487)
[4] (Churchwarden accounts 1490)
[5] (Inventory 1496)
[6] (Churchwarden accounts 1498)
[7] (Churchwarden accounts 1500)
[8] (Churchwarden accounts, 1501-2)
[9] (Churchwarden accounts, 1507-8)
[10] "bolliso [Thomas Bullisdon] about the bell, and making bod with billisdo for the great bell, carriage of two bells from bylisdones to our church." (Vestry records 1508)
[11] abritrating between the parish and Bullisdon for the bells (Churchwarden accounts 1509-10)
[12] (Churchwarden accounts 1510-11)
[13] (Churchwarden accounts 1521-2)
[14] (Churchwarden accounts 1522-3)
[15] in the steple v gret belles & one Santes bell (Edwardian Inventory, 1552)

Pictures of the church


The former bells

The bells in storage at Whitechapel Bell Foundry before they were scrapped.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 25 Nov 2011

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