The Church Bells in the Historic County of Kent

Research conducted by Dickon Love from field work and record inspections, and through collaboration with others, notably the late Rev'd David Cawley.

All contributions, including photographs of belfries and peal boards are gratefully received and will be credited.

News

Broken bell removed at Lee

The broken 9th bell at Lee has now been removed by Taylors, and the 10th has also been discovered to be broken. [14 Jul 24]

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Restoration planned for Penshurst

A faculty application has been made to remove the cast-in crown staples, tune the bells (except the 5th), remove the canons on bells 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, provide new headstocks and repair the bell frame. [27 Apr 24]

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Restoration planned for Bethersden

A faculty has been granted for the restoration of Bethersden bells. The bells are to be removed and refurbished, but not tuned. The timber frame is to be dismantled and rebuilt in the current clock room. A new metal frame is to be built to receive the bells in the current belfry. [27 Apr 24]

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Marden bells restored

Marden has one of only two rings of 8 bells in the country by Alfred Bowell. They have recently been retuned and rehung with partially new fittings in the existing frame. [27 Apr 24]

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Rev'd David L Cawley RIP

I am sorry to report the passing of the Revd David L Cawley of Canterbury who died in the morning of 6 February, aged 79, following a battle with cancer. A Man of Kent, David was a well known authoritative bell historian who contibuted heavily to Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent which he and I always considered to be 'our' project. He served as DAC Bells Advisor for the Canterbury & Rochester Dioceses and oversaw many bell projects in Kent. These ranged from salvaging and reusing bells in the county to generously donating bells in, amongst other places, Whitstable (St Alphege) and Monkton. A very good friend to so many, he will be greatly missed. [06 Feb 24]

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Latest updates

14 Jul 24 Kingsdown-by-Sittingbourne New page incl belfry pictures from Graham Heath
14 Jul 24 Lee, St Margaret Photographs of the dismantling of the broken bell (thanks to Lucas Owen)
08 Jul 24 Kenardington New page incl belfry pictures from Graham Heath
01 Jun 24 Eastchurch Peal boards (thanks to Mike Birkbeck)
07 May 24 Rolvenden Peal boards (thanks to Richard Steele)
04 May 24 Well Hill New page
01 May 24 Downham (Good Shepherd RC Primary School) New page
29 Apr 24 Green Street Green New page
28 Apr 24 Penshurst Various updates including documents supporting 2024 restoration faculty
28 Apr 24 Maidstone Cemetery 0
27 Apr 24 New website launched
27 Apr 24 Bethersden Various updates including documents supporting 2024 restoration faculty
27 Apr 24 Marden Post restoration details (weights, etc.)
27 Nov 23 Boughton under Blean Inscriptions, belfry photos, frame added
27 Nov 23 Lee, St Margaret Additional photographs of the belfry and broken bell (thanks to Bill Hibbert)
14 Oct 23 Snodland Belfry photo and frame drawing
13 Aug 23 Cliffe-at-Hoo Images from Taylor archives (thanks to Chris Pickford)
02 Aug 23 Deptford (St Paul) Comprehensive update following visit by Bill Hibbert (best thanks)
29 May 23 Cheriton As received weights 2011 added
29 May 23 Brenchley As received weights 1924 added

Dickon Love MBE is a belfry archaeologist and active bellringer in the City of London. He is a Past Master and Past Hon Librarian of the Ancient Society of College Youths, which is responsible for ringing the bells at the major towers in the City. He is Tower Keeper/Captain at St Magnus the Martyr and St James Garlickhythe. He conceived and ran the projects to install the new bells at St Magnus the Martyr, St Dunstan-in-the-West and St James Garlickhythe. The latter of these are the Royal Jubilee Bells which he managed when they rang on the River Thames, leading the 2012 Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant and where he has since started a new band of ringers. He is Churchwarden at St Magnus the Martyr, Parish Clerk of St Clement Eastcheap and the 'Company Bellringer' for the Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks. He is also a member of the Cambridge University Guild, resident member of the Middlesex County Association and London Diocesan Guild, and is a Life Member of the Kent County Association. His primary interest is in the history of bells, founding, installations and towers, and the focus of his research (field work and archive) is on the the Cities of London and Westminster as well as Kent for which he writes regular articles. He sits on the Bells Committee of the Church Buildings Council for the Church of England. A member of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, he leads the team that assembles and champions the Dove's Guide resource giving details of all the towers in the world containing bells hung for English style “full circle” change ringing and other bell collections of interest. He makes his living as a management consultant working in central government and his other interests include learning the Polish language and running marathons. In 2024 he was awarded the MBE for services to bellringing in London and Kent.