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ROCHESTER
Cathedral of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary

10 bells
Tenor 30-0-14 in D
Grid Ref. TQ743685
Rochester District
Frame: 1960 John Taylor & Co
Retuning: Never subsequently retuned
Upstairs Ringing Room
PEALS
SOUND CLIP
(9.86s recording by Roger Button)

DETAILS OF THE BELLS

Bell Weight Diameter Cast Founder

1

5-3-7

27"

1921

Gillett & Johnston

2

6-1-19

29⅛"

1921

Gillett & Johnston

3

6-1-22

30"

1921

Gillett & Johnston

4

6-3-17

31"

1921

Gillett & Johnston

5

7-1-19

33"

1921

Gillett & Johnston

6

9-1-21

36"

1921

Gillett & Johnston

7

11-1-26

40⅛"

1921

Gillett & Johnston

8

15-0-9

43"

1921

Gillett & Johnston

9

20-0-13

48"

1921

Gillett & Johnston

10

30-0-14

53"

1921

Gillett & Johnston

1.

CAST BY GILLETT & JOHNSTON, CROYDON, 1921. 

 

TO THE GLORY OF GOD
AND IN PROUD MEMORY OF OUR DEAR SON
2ND. LT. GEORGE WHITE WILLIS RAF,
WHO WAS KILLED IN FRANCE ON 4TH
JANUARY, 1919.

AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.
AS THE STARS THAT ARE STARRY IN THE TIME OF OUR DARKNESS

TO THE END, TO THE END, THEY REMAIN.

 

 

 

1

2.

CAST BY GILLETT & JOHNSTON, CROYDON, 1921. 

 

TO THE GLORY OF GOD
AND IN PROUD MEMORY OF OUR DEAR SON
2ND. LT. GEORGE WHITE WILLIS RAF,
WHO WAS KILLED IN FRANCE ON 4TH
JANUARY, 1919.

AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.
AS THE STARS THAT ARE STARRY IN THE TIME OF OUR DARKNESS

TO THE END, TO THE END, THEY REMAIN.

 

 

 

2

3.

RECAST BY GILLETT & JOHNSTON, CROYDON, 1921. 

 

IN REMEMBRANCE OF
S. REYNOLDS HOLE, DEAN,
DIED 27TH AUGUST - 1904.
                           T.H.F.

3

U.S.S. PITTSBURGH
IN MEMORY OF
1920

4.

RECAST BY GILLETT & JOHNSTON, CROYDON, 1921. 

 

T. H. FOORD
GAVE ME.
1904.

4

RECAST IN MEMORY OF
FREDERICK WADE HOBSON
DIED 25TH MAY 1903
AND OF
ELIZA KEYWORTH HOBSON
HIS ONLY DAUGHTER
DIED
18TH SEPTEMBER 1914

5.

RECAST BY GILLETT & JOHNSTON, CROYDON, 1921. 

 

IN REMEMBRANCE OF
W. W. F.,
DIED 10TH SEPTEMBER - 1881.
                                             T. H. F.

5

RECAST AS A GIFT
FROM THE CATHEDRAL RINGERS

 

6.

RECAST BY GILLETT & JOHNSTON, CROYDON, 1921. 

 

IN REMEMBRANCE OF
M. F.
DIED 1ST JULY - 1896.
                               T. H. F.

6

RECAST IN MEMORY OF
HAROLD ALBERT BRAND
AND
CHARLES WALTER EDWARD
CATHEDRAL CHORISTERS
WHO FELL IN THE
GREAT WAR
1914-1918

7.

RECAST BY GILLETT & JOHNSTON, CROYDON, 1921. 

 

IN REMEMBREANCE OF
E. S. W.
DIED 6TH SEPTEMBER 1896.
                        T. H. F.

7

RECAST IN MEMORY OF
BERTRAM LUARD-SELBY
CATHEDRAL ORGANIST AND CHOIRMASTER.
DIED
S. STEPHENS DAY 1918.
LAUDO DEUM VERUM, PLEBEM VOCO,
CONGREGO CLERUM.

8.

RECAST BY GILLETT & JOHNSTON, CROYDON, 1921. 

 

VIDUA ET SOCII
ME REFECERUNT.
IN MEMORIAM
ERNALDI LANE D. D.
HUJUSCE
DIS DECANI.
OBIIT 16TH JAN., 1913.
ADESTE FIDELES.

8

 
9.

RECAST BY GILLETT & JOHNSTON, CROYDON, 1921. 

 

OLIM THALEBOT
NUNC TALBOT VOCOR,
IN DIE S. ANDRAEA MCIIIV.
                                           
T. H. F. RESTAURAVIT.

9

RECAST IN MEMORY OF
SAMUEL CHEETHAM, D. D.,
ARCHDEACON AND CANON OF ROCHESTER
DIED
19TH JULY 1908.

10.
 

RECAST BY GILLETT & JOHNSTON, CROYDON, 1921. 

I WAS RECAST IN MEMORY OF
FRANCIS EDMUND STORRS, R. N. V. R.,
SON OF THE
DEAN,
DIED
10TH NOVEMBER 1918,
EVE OF THE
ARMISTICE.
KATPQH QNATOS ES NKOS

10

GUILIELMO W. STARMER - CAMPANIS PERITS

 

 

 

g&j_fleur_border.jpg (39994 bytes)g&j_fleur_border.jpg (39994 bytes)
Note that there is a mystery regarding the inscription on the rear of the 3rd.  The USS Pittsburgh had nothing to do with Rochester Cathedral, and perhaps the inscription appears by mistake.

The bells are tuned to the Just Tuned scale.

EARLIER BELLS

The ring of 8 that was recast in 1921 into the present bells was as follows:
Bell Weight Diameter Pitch Cast Founder

1

6-3-14

31"

D

1904

Mears & Stainbank

2

7-2-6

32"

C sharp

1904

Mears & Stainbank

3

8-2-15

35⅛"

B

1904

Mears & Stainbank

4

9-3-20

37"

A

1904

Mears & Stainbank

5

12-0-14

41"

G

1904

Mears & Stainbank

6

16-0-9

44"

F sharp

1712

James Bagley

7

18-2-5

47"

E

1904

Mears & Stainbank

8

26-1-0*

52"

D

1834

Thomas Mears II

* Tuned weight, 1904.
Of the inscriptions given below, the 1904 ones are conjectured from evidence on the new bells
and the style employed by Mears & Stainbank at the time. To date no detailed version of the
inscriptions has been found.

1. MEARS & STAINBANK, FOUNDERS, LONDON. 1904.
IN REMEMBRANCE OF
S. REYNOLDS HOLE, DEAN
DIED 27TH AUGUST 1904.
T. H. F.
2. MEARS & STAINBANK, FOUNDERS, LONDON. 1904.
T. H. FOORD GAVE ME.
1904
3. MEARS & STAINBANK, FOUNDERS, LONDON. 1904.
RECAST IN REMEMBRANCE OF
W. W. F.
DIED 10TH SEPTEMBER 1881.
T. H. F.
4. MEARS & STAINBANK, FOUNDERS, LONDON. 1904.
RECAST IN REMEMBRANCE OF
M. F.
DIED 1ST JULY 1896.
T. H. F.
5. MEARS & STAINBANK, FOUNDERS, LONDON. 1904.
RECAST IN REMEMBRANCE OF
E. S. W.
DIED 6TH SEPTEMBER 1896.
T. H. F.
6. IAMES BAGLEY OF LONDON MADE ME 1712 A shield.jpg (966 bytes) R
bagley_james.jpg (1732 bytes)
7. MEARS & STAINBANK, FOUNDERS, LONDON. 1904.
 
8. FECIT CHRs HODSON. A. D. MDCLXXXIII : REGIS CAROLI II XXXV
  REFECIT THOs MEARS. A. D. MDCCCXXXIV : REGIS GULIEMI IV . V
 
These themselves were modelled from a former ring of 6 in 1904.
Bell Weight Diameter Cast Founder Fate

1

7-3-17

34"

1770

Pack & Chapman

Recast 1904

2

8-0-0

34"

?

Unknown

Recast 1904

3

10-2-10

40"

1635

John Wilnar

Recast 1904

4

16-0-9

44"

1712

James Bagley

Recast 1921

5

21-2-18

48"

1683

Christopher Hodson

Recast 1904

6

?*

52"

1834

Thomas Mears II

Recast 1921
* Tuned in 1904 to 26-1-0.
1. CAST IN THE YEAR 1695 RECAST IN THE YEAR 1770 BY PACK & CHAPMAN OF LONDON
 
2. [Blank]
 
3. IOHN WILNAR MADE ME 1635
 
4. IAMES BAGLEY OF LONDON MADE ME 1712 A shield.jpg (966 bytes)  R
bagley_james.jpg (1732 bytes)
5. CHRISTOPHERVS HODSON Ao D MDCLXXXIII
  ANNOQVE SERNIS REGIS CAROLI IId XXXV
[The Royal Arms]
6. FECIT CHRs HODSON. A. D. MDCLXXXIII : REGIS CAROLI II XXXV
  REFECIT THOs MEARS. A. D. MDCCCXXXIV : REGIS GULIEMI IV . V
 
Some of these bells were recast from earlier bells, some of which are known as follows:
Bell Weight Diameter Cast Founder Fate

1 (of 6)

7 cwt approx.

1695

John Wood

Recast 1770

5 (of 6)

20-2-16

?

Unknown

Recast 1683

6 (of 6)

29-0-10

1683

Christopher Hodson

Recast 1834

 

HISTORY

1154

Record of 3 bells being hung in the Gundulf Tower by Prior Reginald, one of them coming from a former cracked bell.

1251-74

Record that Richard of Waldedene made a bell called Andrew.

1343

Bishop Hamo de Hythe built up the central tower and hung 4 bells in it.

1545

Record of 6 bells in the central tower with the bells in the Gundulf Tower gone.

1635

3rd (of 6) recast by John Wilnar.

1683

5th and Tenor (of 6) recast by Christopher Hodson.

1695

Treble (of 6) recast by John Wood of Chancery Lane.

1711

Richard Phelps gave an estimate to recast the 4th (of 6) although he never actually did.

1712

4th (of 6) recast by James Bagley of Cripplegate, who also quarter-turned the 2nd.

1749

Upper part of the tower and spire rebuilt.

1770

Treble (of 6) recast by Lester & Pack.

1823

Old tower demolished to ringing chamber level and a taller, pinnacled tower built by L N Cottingham.

1834

Tenor (of 6) recast by Thomas Mears.

1838

Some bells repaired and rehung by John Stedman.

1840

Some bells repaired and rehung by John Stedman.

1843

Some bells repaired and rehung by John Stedman.

1882

Bells rehung and Ellacombe chiming apparatus restored by H. Stokes of Woodbury.

1904

Cottingham's work was demolished and the present bell chamber and spire were built and the lower part of the tower refaced by C Hodgson Fowler. Treble, 2nd, 3rd and 5th of 6 recast and the ring augmented to eight by Mears & Stainbank at the expense of Mr Thomas Hellyar Foord. Dedicated 30th November, 1904, by Dr Randall Davidson, Archbishop of Canterbury, and formerly Bishop of Rochester.

1918

Chapter minute books [25th Nov]: "The Dean mentioned that it had been suggested that two additional bells should be provided in the Tower. It was resolved that this should not be done except upon a report from the Cathedral Architect that the additional weight would not in any way endanger the safety of the tower or the bell frame."

1919

Chapter minute books [25th Nov]: "The Dean reported that the Bellringers desired that two light bells should be added to the present peal, at an estimated cost of 270 by Messrs Mears & Stainbank if funds could be obtained. It was desired that the proposal must first be approved by the Cathedral Architect. "

1920

Chapter minute books [2nd Mar]: "Letter was read from the Dean to the effect that two additional bells had been promised by an anonymous donor.  The Chapter Clerk was instructed to obtain particulars of the weight of the bells and to ascertain from Mr Tempole Moore whether such weight together with the vibration were likely to affect the stability of the Tower. He was also to ascertain the exact cost and to submit the same to the Donor for his approval. "
[29th Mar]: "The Archdeacon reported that an estimate had been received from Messrs Gillett & Johnston to supply two new bells with cast iron and steel frame on steel joists, and to supply two sets of ringing fittings for 318, and that Mr Charles Willis was prepared to pay for these.  They submitted a further estimate of 127 for eight steel shanks to strengthen the existing frame and to tune the existing bells Nos. 1, 2 and 3. For this the Ringers were prepared to guarantee the expense.  It was ordered that these estimates be accepted subject to Mr Temple Moore being satisfied that the structure was sufficient to carry the additional weight.  The inscription for the Bells submitted by Mr Charles Willis was approved. "
[7th Jun]: "It was reported that the Cathedral Architect had decided that the proposed struts to support the new bells were not necessary and that the Ringers were anxious that the old bells should be tuned and re-cast where necessary at an estimated cost of 248, which sum they hoped to be able to collect.  It was ordered that the Chapter cannot consent to the expenditure being incurred unless the money is actually in hand."
[6th Sep]: "Letter was received from Messrs Gillett & Johnston, Bell Founders, to the effect that the cost of tuning the 8 bells, 5 of them being recast, would be 439, and that there would be a loss of 6 cwt of metal in the process.  The Chapter desired to know the reason for the increase in the estimate from April last when the amount was 248 - they also desired to know the reason for the loss of 6 cwt of metal.  The Archdeacon kindly undertook to obtain information as to the proposed method of tuning the bells. "
[6th Oct]: "
Mr W W Harmer (or it could be Starmer)  attended the Chapter by invitation and gave his opinion on the proposals of Messrs Gillett & Johnston and on their estimates.  He advised the Chapter generally that it would be wise to have all the bells recast and tuned if it was decided to take that course with regard to any of them and he undertook to obtain from Messrs Gillett & Johnston an estimate of the cost of this which the Chapter would consider together with the estimates already received."
[23rd Oct]: "The question of recasting the Bells was further considered and Mr Harmer and Mr Johnston explained their views to the Chapter.  It was ordered that a statement of the position be drawn up by the Dean and Archdeacon and made public in order to give possible donors an opportunity of offering a war memorial in connection with recasting the bells.  That Messrs Gillett and Johnston be informed that the Chapter are not in a financial position to give an order, but are making their needs publicly known, and that they be asked to give a separate estimate for recasting each bell for purposes of appeal."
[17th Dec]: "It was reported that the Bells had been taken away to be recast and the Chapter Clerk was instructed to ascertain whether a bell could be borrowed from Messrs Johnston to sound the hours of service and to take the strike of the Clock."

1921

Chapter minute books [29th Jan]: "It was reported that new ropes were required for the Bells and that the leather cases required repair.  It was ordered that an estimate be obtained from Messrs Gillett & Johnston."
[28th Feb]: "Bellringers - Letter was read from the Bell Ringers to the effect that they desired to give their salary received by them for the period during which the bells were not in use to the Bells Fund, for which the Chapter desired to record their thanks to the Ringers."
[7 Apr]: "Messrs Gillett & Johnston's estimate of 2.10.- for 10 Indian rubber sleeves for the chiming rope and 24 for extending the chiming apparatus to take in the new bells and supplying and completing all necessary attachments and completing were accepted."
[10th Jun]: "The account of Messrs Gillett & Johnston in connection with the Bells was produced and examined by the Chapter and it was ordered that the account be paid."

1960

Bells rehung in a new frame by John Taylor.

c.1935

The frame was braced by the erection of steel 'buttresses' at each corner.

1991

6 of the clappers were refurbished by John Taylor together with a number of pulley wheels.

GALLERY

Photo DLC collection

The bells in the Croydon foundry, 1921. Click on image to enlarge.

Photo DLC collection

The tenor bell.

Treble Front of 3rd Rear of 3rd
Front of 4th Rear of 4th Front of 5th
Rear of 5th Front of 6th Rear of 6th
Front of 7th Rear of 7th 8th
Front of 9th Rear of 9th Front of tenor
Rear of tenor    
   
Looking up into the spire.