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DEPTFORD, St Nicholas

Photo DrL June 2005

Formerly 8 bells (only 2 are left)
6 bells in storage
Tenor: 19 cwt approx. (in tower)
Tenor: 8-1-9 in storage
Lewisham District
Frame: 2 tier (3, 6 & 7) still in the tower; 1904 John Warner & Sons
Retuning: Never subsequently retuned
Rung from a ringing gallery (demolished c. 1955)
PEALS

There are plans to install the former 6 bells from St Paul's, Homerton, now in storage, augmented to 8.

DETAILS OF THE BELLS

In the Tower:
Bell Weight Diameter Cast Founder

1

5 cwt approx.

30"

1701

Samuel Newton & Isaac Hadley

2

5-2-27

30"

1701

Samuel Newton & Isaac Hadley

3

6-1-10

32"

1701

Samuel Newton & Isaac Hadley

4

8-1-19

36"

1701

Samuel Newton & Isaac Hadley

5

9-3-14

39"

1702

Samuel Newton & Isaac Hadley

6

13-0-10

41"

1701

Samuel Newton & Isaac Hadley

7

14-3-3

44"

1701

Samuel Newton & Isaac Hadley

8

19 cwt approx.
Originally cast 20-1-2

49"

1842

Thomas Mears II

In storage at Whitechapel Bell Foundry:

Bell

Weight

Diameter

Cast

Founder

1

4-0-3 26"

1890

Mears & Stainbank

2

4-2-14 271/4"

1890

Mears & Stainbank

3

5-0-1 291/4"

1890

Mears & Stainbank

4

5-2-12 301/2"

1890

Mears & Stainbank

5

6-3-9 327/8"

1890

Mears & Stainbank

6

8-1-9 36"

1890

Mears & Stainbank

INSCRIPTIONS

1. 1701.
2. 1701.
3. 1701.
4. 1701.
5. 1702.
6. 1701.
7. S N   I H    1701
8. THOMAS MEARS FOUNDER LONDON 1842
REVD A E SKETCHLEY M A VICAR

CHARLES BARLEE
WILLIAM KNOTT

} CHURCHWARDENS

FORMER TENOR

Bell Weight Diameter Cast Founder

Tenor

20-1-14

1701

Samuel Newton & Isaac Hadley

HISTORY

c. 1120

Church built.

1552

Record of 5 bells.

1697

Significant rebuilding of the church.

1701

Ring of 8 bells cast (although the 5th was dated 1702) by Newton and Hadley.

1714

Significant rebuilding of the church.

1780

Tenor recast.

1842

Tenor recast by Thomas Mears.

1904

Top stage of the tower rebuilt. The canons were removed and the bells were rehung by John Warner & Sons in a new 2-tier cast iron frame.

1904

11th Nov

Tower reopened and bells rededicated by the Bishop of Rochester. The canons were removed from the tenor.

1911

Church reopened after restoration.

1939

Bells last rung. In May, John Taylor quoted for a new frame and fittings. ("From the manner in which the frame moves we would not come to rehang the bells upon it.")

1940

The church was badly damaged by incendiary bombs.

1951

May

Mears & Stainbank quoted for removing the bells.

1955

July

Mears & Stainbank quoted for rehanging the bells with partly new fittings to make them ringable.

1955

Oct.

Mears & Stainbank visited again. "5th cracked, possibly also 4th, bells dirty. Frame and majority of fittings sound and in excellent condition but bells are too high in the tower and too heavy." They quoted for a new ring of 8 (in A, A flat or G) and for rehanging in new fittings and framework lower in the tower. They also quoted to rehang the existing bells lower in the tower.

1955

Nov.

Mears & Stainbank quoted for removing the middle six bells including a plea that they might reconsider even keeping 6 bells for ringing which would attract ringers. All of this fell on deaf ears!

1956

Bells removed from the tower and sold for scrap to help pay for the restoration of the church (apart from the treble and tenor which were rehung without their wheels in the lower frame with their clappers adapted for clocking).

2000

The church was awarded a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the tower. Whilst the restoration of a ring of bells was not included in the plans for this grant, the church was now keen to see a ring of bells return. The Keltek Trust has offered the redundant ring from Homerton, Middx around which to model a new ring of 8. Discussions continue.

2005

The Kent CA bought the 6 Homerton bells from the Keltek Trust and keep them in Trust for the church pending the launch of an appeal to augment them to 8 and hang them in a new frame in the tower.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Photo 1895. DLC Collection. The tower in a bad way a few years before its partial collapse and rebuilding. This photograph was taken in 1895.
Photo DrL June 2005 The tenor sitting in its pit in the old frame for 8 bells, without a wheel.
The treble is the only other bell in the tower. Photo DrL June 2005
Photo DrL June 2005

The upper tier of the frame.

Photo DrL June 2005

The lower tier, in which the remaining two bells hang.

Photo DrL June 2005 A view of the base of the tower. There used to be a ringing gallery here and you can see where the door used to open up to allow access (on the right).
The two ropes which allow the two bells to be sounded. Also a better view of the door on to the ringing gallery. Photo DrL June 2005
Photo DrL June 2005

A memorial on the wall of the church showing money donated for the casting of the bells.