banner1.jpg (38669 bytes)

COOLING, St James

3 bells
Tenor: 6 cwt approx.
Grid Ref. TQ756759
Rochester District
Frame: mediaeval - short head and king post with braces, head struts and transoms
Retuning: Never subsequently retuned
Fitted with wheels but unlikely to have ever been ringable
Church vested in Churches Conservation Trust

DETAILS OF THE BELLS

Bell Weight Diameter Cast Founder

1

4 cwt approx.

27"

1675

John Hodson

2

6 cwt approx.

30"

1641

John Palmar I

3

6 cwt approx.

31"

1651

Michael Darbie

INSCRIPTIONS

1.

IOHN HODSON MADE ME 1675 ○○○○○○ C H ○○○○○ ○○○○ DAVED ◊ HEATH ◊ CHVRCH ◊ WARDEN

 

2.

IOH PALMAR MADE ME 1614 [surely mistake for 1641]

 

3.

MICHAEL DARBIE MADE ME 1651

 

 

HISTORY

1641

Bell cast by John Palmar I (middle of 3).

1651

Bell cast by Michael Darbie (tenor of 3).

1675

Bell cast by John Hodson (treble of 3).

1885

Chancel restored.

1888

Nave restored.

1976

Church declared redundant, having been a chapel of ease in the parish of Cliffe-at-Hoo.

1978

May

Church vested in the Redundant Churches Fund (now Churches Conservation Trust).

2004   Bells were inspected by Peter Romney who wrote:

There is no floor under the frame and just two planks on either side to stand on. To get to the other side of the frame it would be necessary to climb over it and I am no longer agile enough to do this safely!

The frame appears to be mediaeval - short head and king post with braces, head struts and transoms. I guess the fittings date from the youngest bell - i.e. 1675. There are no threaded bolts and nuts just wedges of metal with a few of them surprisingly large. The reason for suggesting that the fittings date back to the 17th century is in George Elphick's "Sussex Bells and Belfries" where he refers to a publication called "Ancient Carpenters' Tools". He writes 'The threaded nut and bolt was known in Roman times but the principle was lost in Britain during the dark ages of the Saxon period. It reappeared in France by 1569 and in this country by 1678.' All three are fitted with full wheels but I do not think they were ever rung full circle. There is little or no evidence of stays, runner board or sliders and the ground pulleys are in the wrong place.

Presumably the present bells are all recasts of older bells if the frame is as old as it looks. But, again from George Elphick's book, he refers to a similar frame at Plumpton as appearing to be a 17th century copy of an earlier frame (based on dendrochronology).