banner1.jpg (38669 bytes)

SANDWICH, St Peter

Photo RCO May 2004

8 bells
Tenor 15-2-9 in E flat
Grid Ref. TR331581
Canterbury District
Frame: 1727 Knight or Catlin, 2 pits added 1779
Retuning: Never subsequently retuned
Upstairs Ringing Room
Tower is unsafe and bells are derelict, except the tenor which is rung every day at 8 p.m. for the Curfew.
PEALS

DETAILS OF THE BELLS

Bell Weight Diameter Cast Founder

1

4-2-27

27½"

1779

William Mears

2

5-0-13

29¼"

1779

William Mears

3

5-3-15

31"

1779

William Mears

4

7-1-24

33¾"

1779

William Mears

5

7-2-23

35⅝"

1779

William Mears

6

9-2-1

37⅜"

1779

William Mears

7

11-3-13

41¾"

1779

William Mears

8

15-2-9

45⅜"

1779

William Mears

INSCRIPTIONS

1. I MEAN TO MAKE IT UNDERSTOOD. THAT THO I’M LITTLE. YET I’M GOOD
W. MEARS & CO FECIT 1779
2. (3 diamonds) TO HONOUR BOTH OF GOD AND KING. OUR VOIES SHALL IN CONSORT RING
WW MEARS & CO LONDON FECIT 1779
3. (5 diamonds)WHILST THUS WE JOIN IN CHEARFULL SOUND + MAY LOVE & LOYALTY ABOUND
WM MEARS & CO LONDON FECIT 1779
4. MUSIC IS MEDICINE TO THE MIND MEARS & CO 1779
 
5. IN WEDLOCK BANDS ALL YE WHO JOYN WITH HANDS & HARTS UNITE SO SHALL
  OUR TUNEFULL TONGUES COMBINE TO LAUD THE NUPTIALS RITE  v MEARS & CO FECIT (6 diamonds)
6. (18 diamonds) PEACE AND GOOD NEIGHBOURWOOD  WM MEARS & CO LONDON FECIT 1779
 
7. YE RINGERS ALL THAT PRIZE YOUR HEALTH & HAPPINESS BE SOBER MERRY WISE & YOU’LL THE SAME POSSESS.
 
8. (Obliterated inscription)  FORBES, 1779
  THE REVD. MR. J: CONANT A:M: RECTOR. W: W: BRADLY W BRICE CH: WARDENS 1779
 
The diamonds refer to the number of diamonds appearing in the Whitechapel diamond border. They are co-joined without loops. All the raised underlined characters are actually raised characters with a single dot beneath them, apart from the "O" in "Co" on the 5th which has 2 dots. There is no stop under the "M" of "WM" on the 7th.

HISTORY

1546

A man was killed while ringing the 3rd.

1641

Tower described as cracked.

1663

Upper portion of the tower blew down in a gale.

1727

6 bells were purchased from Canterbury Cathedral. The tenor was recast by Samuel Knight and all 6, known as the "Oxfords" were hung in the tower.

1760   Rev'd Bryan Faussett records 5 bells in the tower, 4 by Joseph Hatch dated 1625, and a tenor by Samuel Knight, dated 1727:
This Church consists of The Chancell, Body, and N. Isle. It had formerly a S. Isle, wch. is now demolish’d, the Ground where it stood making a Part of the Church Yard. At The East End stands the abovemention’d Chantry, or St Peters School. The Tower which is of more modern Workmanship than ye Church, and is built of Brick, stands between the Chancell and the Body. In it hang 5 Bells. The 4 Smallest were made by Joseph Hatch 1625 and the Largest, or Tennor, by S. Knight. 1727.

1779

The bells were recast into 8 by William Mears.

1795   Zachariah Cozens wrote:
It now consists of two aisles and a chancel, with a square tower, containing a peal of eight bells, in the middle. Formerly there was a South aisle, but it was destroyed by the falling on October 12th 1661, though the walls of it still remain, about breast high. The 13th of October 1661 St Peter’s church fell down. That day the same year was a Sabbath day; there were two sermons preached there that day, and it fell down within six or seven hours after the people were gone home, presently after one quarter of an hour past eleven o’clock at night. Had it fell at the time when the people were there, the chiefest of the town and parish would have been killed, and buried under the rubbish, and stones, and timber; but the Lord was so gracious as to show a miraculous mercy in that judgement, for there was no man, woman or child killed or hurt, and very few heard it. The rubbish was three fathom deep in the middle of the church, the bells underneath it; two or three rods long it lay.

1st. I mean to make it understood/That tho’ I’m little yet I’m good/. Mears & Co. Fecit 1779.
2nd. To honour both of God and King/Our voices shall in Consort ring/. Wm. Mears & Co. of London Fecit 1779.
3rd. Whilst thus we join in Chearful sound/May Love and Loyalty abound/. Wm. Mears & Co. of London Fecit 1779.
4th. Music is Medicine to the mind. Mears & Co. 1779.
5th. In Wedlock Bands all ye who join With Hand & Hearts unite/So shall our tuneful Tongues combine To laud
the Nuptial rite/.
6th. Peace and Good neighbourwood (sic). Wm. Mears & Co. Fecit 1779.
7th. Ye Ringers all that prize your Health & Happiness/Be sober merry wise & you’ll the same possess/.
Wm. Mears & Co. Fecit 1779.
8th. The Revd. Mr J Conant A.M. Rector. W.W. Bradley, W. Brice. Ch. Wardens. Forbes 1779
1795   Edward Hasted wrote:
The rubbish was three fathom deep in the middle of the church, the bells underneath it ... There are eight small but musical bells, cast in 1779; they cost 430l. 12s. 6d. which expense was in great measure defrayed by the metal of the former six old bells.

1815

A new headstock was provided for the treble.

1823

The one and only peal on the bells was rung. This is recorded on a peal board in the ringing room.

1892

The 4th was repaired. A meeting of the KCACR was held here in this year.

1898

New clock and chimes fitted by Gillett & Johnston.

1913

Bells last rung, for a wedding when "dust seemed to fall" (local inf. per Mr J. Bowles, formerly Secretary of the RCF).

1932

Tenor quarter-turned, rehung and fitted with ball bearings by Mears & Stainbank at a cost of £33.15s.

1948 Church ceased to be a parish church and was used as the Chapel of Sir Roger Manwood's School.
1973 22nd Feb Church declared redundant.
1974 The KCACR made proposals for rehanging the bells to the RCF. The tower was subsequently underpinned, the clock rebuilt, new steps put in - and the bells left in their dereliction.
1974 16th Oct Redundancy Scheme Church vested in the Churches Conservation Trust.
1979 The Mayor of Sandwich, Cllr H. J. Sneller, offered to make St Peter's bells the object of his special Mayor's Appeal. Estimates for restoration were again sought but the work was vetoed by the church architect. The belfry was cleared of rubbish and fragments of old wheels, etc.
2011 The tenor was rehung on new ball bearings by Whitechapel.

GALLERY

Photo RCO May 2004 Photo DLC 2005 Photo DLC 2005
The tower rises above the Sandwich skyline.
 
The peal board in the tower for the one and only peal on the bells.
 
David Cawley rings the curfew (tenor) bell.
 
Photo DLC 2005    
3 of the curfew ringers showing the new rope on the tenor, the peal board, the remains of the 4th rope, and the hat pegs.