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LOVE'S GUIDE TO THE CHURCH BELLS OF KENT

Welcome to the Kent section of Love's Guide.  This site is maintained by Dickon Love as a place to record his research into belfry archaeology and history in the County of Kent (and those parts considered by some to be in London formerly in the County of Kent).  Information comes from many sources, and Dickon is grateful to all those who have contributed to this research, particularly those listed below.

This information is taken from a more complete database, all of which is hoped to become available on this site. Any corrections, comments or additions would be gratefully received.


Dickon Love is an active bellringer in the City of London and is a Past Master and Hon Librarian of the Ancient Society of College Youths, who are responsible for ringing the bells at the major towers in the City.  He is also a member of the Cambridge University Guild, the Middlesex County Association & London Diocesan Guild and the Kent County Association.  His primary interest is in the history of bells and bell towers, and the focus of his research is on the the Cities of London and Westminster and the County of Kent.  He is Tower Keeper at St Magnus the Martyr and St Mary Woolnoth, running the projects to install new bells at St Dunstan-in-the-West and St James Garlickhythe, is Churchwarden at St Magnus the Martyr, and Parish Clerk of St Clement Eastcheap. He makes his living as a management consultant working in central government.

Bell Restoration News
  Barming, St Margaret
The six bells have been retuned by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry and rehung in the old frame with new fittings by White's of Appleton.  More >
Monkton, St Mary Magdalene
The ringing room has been restored to make ringing safe now, and crucially a new bell has been purchased from Sandiacre to fill the tenor pit that has been empty for over 150 years. As this inscription says "Once more we're four"!.  More >

Chatham, St Mary the Virgin
The Victoria Ring has been stripped from this redundant church as there were concerns that they might become damaged and upkeep was difficult. They are to be installed in the tower at St Gorran, Cornwall, in a new 2 tier frame.  More >

Strood, St Nicholas
The 10 cwt chime of 5 at Murston is to be remodelled into a ring of 8 for St Nicholas Strood. The work is to be completed in 2014. More >

Seal Chart
The back 2 bells have been recast and the ring is being remodelled into a ring of 6 with the former 4th as the tenor.  The bells were cast at Whitechapel with Whites of Appleton as the main contractor.  More >

Edenbridge, Fircroft Way
A new ring of 8 was erected in a tower in a warehouse in Edenbridge.  The Royal Jubilee Bells were rung in May 2012 and then transferred to a boat on the River Thames before finding a permanent home in the City of London.  More >

St Nicholas, Otham
The 3 bells here have been augmented to 6.  2 Alfred Bowell bells have been secured and a treble has been cast by John Taylor Bellfounders.  More >

St Giles, Farnborough
The existing 9 cwt Gillett bell has been joined (independently) by a new lightweight ring of 6 (tenor 2-2-26).  Five of these new bells are from the front six of the ring of ten that was originally cast for Old St Martin's, Worcester. More >

St Mary, Westwell
A scheme had been approved to install a new light six under the existing bells, with the old tenor rehung for swing chiming as a bourdon, although (Nov 2012) this scheme now appears to have gone quiet. More >

Weights of bells are given in the manner traditional among ringers, namely using the form cwt-qtr-lbs.

Recordings may be found of some of the Kent belfries that do not yet have full detail pages attached to them. They are given provisionally below:

SYDENHAM, St Bartholomew - a single bell by Thomas Mears, cast in 1832.

Additional photographs that I have loaded but without the full detail pages are given below:

BEXLEY, Asylum A small bell hanging in a gable of the former asylum in Bexley. Details currently unknown (photo 3/9/04)
GOODNESTONE, Faversham church

KEMSING, Edith Hall A small bell which, with squinting, would appear to be by John Warner, 1911.
STROOD, St Mary There is a chime of 3 in this church (now run by The New Testament Church of God) hung for swing chiming of roughly 1, 1? and 2 cwt. Access to the bells is almost impossible. Nothing is known of their history or founder to date. (Photo 2004).
LUDDESDOWN, Ss Peter & Paul The treble bell, uninscribed 15th cent. (Photo 29/3/69)
LUDDESDOWN, Ss Peter & Paul The 2nd bell, R. Hille c. 1430 (Photo 29/3/69)
WEST CLIFFE church

Latest Site Additions
29 Jun - Margate (Holy Trinity New Church) picture of the bell (thanks to David Cawley)
21 Jun - Christ Church Erith, Goodnestone-by-Sandwich (photographs of the belfry by Jamie Carmichael), Barming (retuned and rehung)
31 Mar - Beckenham (tenor weighed)
17 Mar - Benenden (new pictures of the belfry), Wateringbury (correction)
24 Feb - Monkton
3 Dec - Chatham, Seal Chart, Godmersham
25 Sept - Stone by Dartford (new page)
28 Aug - Orpington (more pictures), Milton Regis (pictures)
18 Aug - Godmersham, Petham, Waltham, Chartham, Chilham
14 Aug - Cliffe

Gillett & Johnston Bells in Kent
The Gillett Record
I have been doing a special study of all bells in Kent from the Gillett & Johnston Foundry in Croydon. This is on-going research and may be seen here.

Sources of Information
Most of the information has come from my own research in the ringing press, bell foundry records and other published sources, as well as from visits that I have undertaken to individual belfries. Also, help has been provided by various ringers, special thanks are given below. Virtually all the photographs are my own.

PARTICULAR THANKS GO TO:

Rev'd David Cawley (Margate)
Richard Offen (Perth, WA)
Chris Pickford (Kinver)

Brian Butcher (Hythe)
and the late Nick Davies and Peter Romney
for providing and QAing information.

Also to those who provide positive feedback from the site which helps make it such a pleasure to maintain.

Also from the Lovesguide Series:

Church Bells of the City of London Church Bells of the
City of Westminster
Church Bells of Prague

Launched September 1998 - Last updated 31 Mar 2014