Untitled Document
      Love's Guide to

The Bells of the City of London
St Olave Hart St

St Olave Hart St, Hart St

Photo: Dickon Love, Mar 2005

Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Diameter Note Date FounderRetuned
® Treble 3-1-1124½" G 1953 Mears & Stainbank, WhitechapelNever
® 2 3-2-1125⅛" F♯ 1953 Mears & Stainbank, WhitechapelNever
® 3 4-0-1427" E 1953 Mears & Stainbank, WhitechapelNever
® 4 4-3-1129⅜" D 1953 Mears & Stainbank, WhitechapelNever
® 5 5-1-2231⅜" C 1953 Mears & Stainbank, WhitechapelNever
® 6 6-2-1833" B 1952 Mears & Stainbank, WhitechapelNever
® 7 8-1-636½" A 1952 Mears & Stainbank, WhitechapelNever
® Tenor 11-3-2040" G 1972 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
Sanctus 1-1-1218" C 1953 Mears & Stainbank, WhitechapelNever

®  - Hung for full circle ringing
 - Hung dead


Frame Bells Year Maker Material Truss(es) Local
Main belfry 1 Ring of 8 1953 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Cast iron
Cupola 2 Sanctus


How the bells are tuned

Previous tenor

Bell Weight Diameter Note Date Founder Retuned Fate
Tenor11-1-140"G1952Mears & StainbankNeverRecast 1972

Ring of 8 lost in the War

Bell Weight Diameter Note Date Founder Retuned Fate
Treble3-3-2725"G1929Mears & StainbankNeverDestroyed 1941
23-3-2326"F♯1929Mears & StainbankNeverDestroyed 1941
34-2-1127½"E1694James Bartlett1929 Mears & StainbankDestroyed 1941
44-3-1829"D1662Anthony Bartlett1929 Mears & StainbankDestroyed 1941
55-1-1430⅝"C1662Anthony Bartlett1929 Mears & StainbankDestroyed 1941
66-3-632¾"B1662Anthony Bartlett1929 Mears & StainbankDestroyed 1941
78-2-2236¼"A1662Anthony Bartlett1929 Mears & StainbankDestroyed 1941
Tenor11-0-240"G1662Anthony Bartlett1929 Mears & Stainbank. See also Ref. 1 below.Destroyed 1941
Clock2 cwt approx.22½"G1784UnknownNeverDestroyed 1941


1552 Record of 4 bells and a Sanctus. [1]
1662 The old bells were recast into a ring of 5 by Anthony Bartlet.
1665 Samuel Pepys in his diary of 30 July noted "It was a sad noise to hear our bell to tell and ring so often today either for death or burials: I think five or six time".
1666 The bells survived the Great Fire.
1694 A treble was added by James Bartlet to make a ring of 6. The new bell was hung by Mr Cole who also repaired the fittings of the other bells.
1708 Record of 6 bells in the tower.
1714 Record of "six large bells".
1732 The top stage of the tower was rebuilt, necessitating the installation of a new bellframe, completed the following year. The bells were rehung by William Cole.
1749 Record of the sanctus bell. [2]
1785 The vestry ordered on 28 March that "a new bell in the steeple for the clock, the other broke".
1891 The church was reopened on 30 October.
1928 John Taylor & Co inspected the bells, noting the diameters, frame plan and describing the fittings as "very old".
1929 The bells were rehung and retuned by Mears & Stainbank. They were augmented with two trebles (the gift of The Lord Wakefield of Hythe) to make eight. They were dedicated on 29th July (St Olave's Day). At the time, the back bells were described as the oldest peal available for ringing in the City of London (as St Bartholomew the Great was described as unavailable for ringing, as presumably were St Andrew Undershaft). [3]
1941 The church was damaged by enemy action and the bells were destroyed. Some of the metal was salvaged.
1952 3 stock bells were supplied for a new ring of 8 (these being the back 3).
1953 Bells 3-5 were cast for the church. In October the church ordered the two trebles, which were then also supplied. All 8 bells were hung in a new frame and first rung on Christmas Day.
1972 The tenor had come cracked and was recast by Whitechapel. An identical inscription was put on the new bell to the old.
[1] Itm ther remanyth in the Stiple iiij greate beles and a Saunce bell. (Edwardian Inventory, 1552)
[2] (Vestry minutes, 27 Mar 1749)
[3] There is some ambigiuty in the reports of the weight of the tenor bell of this old ring. The Whitechapel tuning book states that the bell came out the mould at 11-1-2, with the borings given as 0-1-5, giving a final weight as 10-3-25. This is consistent with the weight that was quoted in the Ringing World peal reports at the time. However, the borings note was subsequently altered to 0-1-0, which gives a despatch weight of 11-0-2. So dear reader, take your pick! (After the bells were destroyed, 48-2-0 of metal was recovered.) (Note about the weight of the tenor bell)


  • "London's Oldest Ringing Peal", Author not given (The Ringing World) 2 August 2029
  • "St Olave, Hart Street, City of London", Pickford, Christopher J and Churchill, Robin (The Ringing World) 25 July 1975
  • Pictures of the church


    Pictures from the belfry

    The Sanctus bell in the cupola on top of the tower.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, Mar 2005

    Photo: Dickon R Love, Mar 2005

    Photo: Dickon R Love, Mar 2005

    The space above the bells.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 26 Nov 2013

    View down on to the bells.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 26 Nov 2013

    Photo: Dickon R Love, 26 Nov 2013

    Photo: Dickon R Love, 26 Nov 2013

    Pictures from the ringing room

    Photo: Dickon R Love, 26 Nov 2013

    Photo: Dickon R Love, 26 Nov 2013
    Recent Peals
    The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
    2023-05-075088 Yorkshire Surprise Major
    2023-03-105024 Bristol Surprise Major
    2022-12-295152 Spliced Surprise Major (23m)
    2022-11-045184 Spliced Surprise Major (5m)
    2022-10-315216 Emerald Hill Delight Major
    2022-09-195024 Cambridge Surprise Major
    2020-02-295040 Cambridge Surprise Minor
    2019-08-315088 Superlative Surprise Major
    2019-02-095040 Stedman Doubles
    2018-02-035152 Spliced Surprise Major (23 Methods)
    2017-08-245152 Spliced Surprise Major (17m)
    2017-06-035152 Spliced Surprise Major (23m)
    2017-01-275056 Spliced Surprise Major (4m)
    2016-02-135040 Stedman Triples
    2016-01-315120 Spliced Surprise Major (3m)
    2015-02-145184 Cambridge Surprise Major
    2014-11-015088 Yorkshire Surprise Major
    2014-04-185152 Spliced Surprise Major (8m)
    2014-03-095088 Yorkshire Surprise Major
    2014-02-085056 Cambridge Surprise Major
    2013-09-075152 Spliced Surprise Major (4 Methods)
    2013-01-245184 Bristol Surprise Major
    2011-02-125056 Yorkshire Surprise Major
    2008-05-105040 Grandsire Triples
    2007-11-035056 Cambridge Surprise Major
    Recent Quarter Peals
    The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
    2023-09-171280 Bristol Surprise Major
    2023-08-201296 Cambridge Surprise Minor
    2023-08-171280 Uxbridge Surprise Major
    2023-08-131250 Spliced Surprise Major (2m)
    2023-07-161260 Doubles (2m)
    2023-06-251344 Plain Bob Major
    2023-06-181440 Cambridge Surprise Minor
    2023-06-111250 Quedgeley Surprise Major
    2023-05-141344 Earl Of Shaftesbury Surprise Major
    2023-03-261280 Lincolnshire Surprise Major
    2023-02-121260 Plain Bob Minor
    2023-01-221314 Ealing Surprise Major
    2023-01-081344 Superlative Surprise Major
    2022-12-111250 Yorkshire Surprise Major
    2022-12-041344 Superlative Surprise Major
    2022-11-261260 St Clement's College Bob Minor
    2022-09-221260 Grandsire Doubles
    2022-09-181260 St Clement's College Bob Minor
    2022-06-031312 Yorkshire Surprise Major
    2022-06-021260 Doubles (6m)
    2022-03-131344 Yorkshire Surprise Major
    2022-02-041260 Double Oxford Bob Minor
    2021-11-271260 Plain Bob Doubles
    2021-11-271260 Plain Bob Triples
    2021-08-281260 Grandsire Triples
    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: 13 October 2019