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Canterbury Cathedral
 

Canterbury Cathedral, Oxford Tower


Photo: Dickon Love

  • 12 bells plus extra treble and sharp 2nd hung for full circle ringing
  • Tenor: 34-3-4 in C♯.
  • Grid Ref: TR151579
  • Rung from: Upstairs Ringing Room
  • Frame: Whitechapel Bell Foundry, 1981
  • Diocese: Canterbury
  • Building Listed Grade: I Click for Heritage details.
  • Peals rung at the tower

Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Diameter Note Date FounderRetuned
® Treble Crundale 6-0-227¼" G♯ 1981 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 2 Alphege 6-2-228¾" F♯ 1981 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 3 Thomas 6-2-2029½" E♯ 1981 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 4 Mary 7-0-1231" D♯ 1981 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 5 Ethelbert 7-3-1632½" C♯ 1981 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 6 Anselm 8-0-1233¼" B♯ 1981 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 7 Blaise 8-3-2435" A♯ 1981 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 8 John 10-3-2638" G♯ 1981 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 9 Llanfranc 15-0-842½" F♯ 1981 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 10 Gabriel 17-3-1645" E♯ 1981 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® 11 Augustine 24-2-1050½" D♯ 1981 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® Tenor Trinity 34-3-456½" C♯ 1981 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® Extra Treble Simon 5-2-526" A♯ 1981 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever
® Flat 6th Ernulf 8-1-1634" B 1981 Whitechapel Bell FoundryNever

® Hung for full circle ringing

Inscriptions

The ring of 12 replaced by the current ring

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Weight
(As supplied)
DiameterDateFounderFate
Treble6-0-186-0-1628⅞"1923Mears & StainbankRecast 1981
26-1-186-1-1530"1923Mears & StainbankRecast 1981
36-3-166-3-2431½"1802Thomas Mears IRecast 1981
47-1-147-1-032"1802Thomas Mears IMoved to the Arundel Tower in 1981
57-1-87-1-1734"1855George Mears & Co.Moved to the Arundel Tower in 1981
68-0-2336"1727Samuel KnightMoved to the Arundel Tower in 1981
78-3-2538"1727Samuel KnightMoved to the Arundel Tower in 1981
810-2-710-2-2540"1855George Mears & Co.Moved to the Arundel Tower in 1981
912-2-643½"1727Samuel KnightRecast 1981
1016-3-546½"1728Samuel KnightRecast 1981
1121-3-251½"1727Samuel KnightRecast 1981
Tenor32-0-632-0-657"1951Mears & StainbankRecast 1981

Prior Henry's bells from the Arundel Tower

Bell Weight
(most recent)
DateFounderFate
Chapter Bell5½ cwt approx.1316UnknownUnknown
120 cwt approx.1316UnknownUnknown
222 cwt approx.1316UnknownUnknown
324 cwt approx.1316UnknownUnknown

The set of six by John Bayle

Bell Weight
(most recent)
DateFounderFate
Treble8-0-181499John Bayle
2nd12-1-01499John Bayle
3rd15-1-91499John Bayle
4th18-0-11499John Bayle
5th25-1-51499John Bayle
Le Mariebelle33-0-221499John Bayle4 of these bells were recast by Joseph Hatch in 1625. The resultant ring of six was sold to St Peter's Sandwich in 1726, at which point the tenor was recast by Samuel Knight (1727). The whole ring amounting to 55-1-6.

The 1726/7 Samuel Knight Ring of Eight

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Weight
(After 1981 tuning)
DiameterDateFounderRetunedFate
Treble7-1-141726Samuel KnightNeverRecast 1854
2nd8-0-238-0-23 (A♯)36"1726Samuel Knight1981 WhitechapelMoved to the Arundel Tower in 1981
3rd8-2-258-3-25 (G♯)38"1726Samuel Knight1981 WhitechapelMoved to the Arundel Tower in 1981
4th11-0-241726Samuel KnightNeverRecast 1854
5th?1726Samuel KnightNeverRecast 1727
6th?1726Samuel KnightNeverRecast 1728
7th21-3-251½"1726Samuel KnightRecast 1981
Tenor30 cwt approx.1726Samuel KnightNeverRecast 1778

Bells recast from the Samuel Knight octave

Bell Weight
(most recent)
DiameterDateFounderFate
5th (of 8)12-2-643½"1727Samuel KnightRecast 1981
6th (of 8)16-3-546½"1728Samuel KnightRecast 1981
Tenor (of 8)28-1-01778Pack & ChapmanRecast 1951

Augmentation to 10 bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Weight
(As supplied in 1802)
Weight
(After tuning in 1981)
DiameterDateFounderFate
New treble (of 10)6-3-161802Thomas Mears IRecast 1981
New 2nd (of 10)7-1-146-3-246-3-032"1802Thomas Mears IMoved to the Arundel Tower in 1981

Bells recast from the ring of 10

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Weight
(As supplied 1855)
DiameterDateFounderRetunedFate
3rd (of 8)?7-1-01854George Mears & Co.NeverRecast 1855
6th (of 8)?1854George Mears & Co.NeverRecast 1855
3rd (of 8)7-1-87-1-1733¾"1855George Mears & Co.1981 WhitechapelMoved to the Arundel Tower in 1981
6th (of 8)10-2-710-2-2539½"1855George Mears & Co.1981 WhitechapelMoved to the Arundel Tower in 1981

Augmentation to 12 bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Weight
(As supplied in 1923)
Weight
(After tuning in 1981)
DiameterDateFounderFate
New treble (of 12)6-0-186-0-1628⅞"1923Mears & StainbankRecast 1981
New 2nd (of 12)6-1-186-0-1530"1923Mears & StainbankRecast 1981

Bell recast from the ring of 12

Bell Weight
(most recent)
DiameterDateFounderFate
Tenor (of 12)32-0-657"1951Mears & StainbankRecast 1981

Incarnations of Great Dunstan

Bell Weight
(most recent)
DateFounderFate
Great Dunstan?1459UnknownRecast 1499
Great Dunstan64¼ cwt1499John BayleRecast 1663
Great Dunstan62-1-51663Michael DarbieRecast 1684
Great Dunstan69-3-51684Christopher HodsonRecast 1762

History

1425 The Oxford Tower was built.
1430 Great Dunstan (that used to hang in the Campanile) was recast.
1433 The bells from the Arundel Tower were transferred to the Oxford Tower. (The bells from the Angel Steeple then went to the Arundel Tower.)
1459 Great Dunstan was finally hallowed and hung in the Oxford Tower.
1499 John Bayle cast "le Mariebelle" and 5 other bells and recast Great Dunstan.
1625 Four of the Oxford Tower bells were recast and probably augmented to six.
1663 Michael Darbie recast Great Dunstan.
1684 Christopher Hodson recast Great Dunstan.
1726 The bells in the Oxford Tower were sold to St Peter's, Sandwich.
1727 Samuel Knight cast a ring of 8 for the Oxford Tower, recasting the 5th.
1728 Samuel Knight recast the 6th.
1758 An attempt was made to mend Great Dunstan with solder.
1762 Lester, Pack & Chapman recast Great Dunstan.
1778 The Tenor was recast by Pack & Chapman.
1791 There was an unusual performance on the 8 bells over a day period when a man played tunes on them in an ingeniuous form of "clocking". [1]
1802 The ring was augmented to 10 by Thomas Mears I with addition of 2 treble bells. The bells were reopened on 1 June 1902. [2]
1854 The 3rd & 6th were recast by Charles & George Mears, but found to be the wrong note, so they were recast again the following year.
1872 The Canterbury Chimes were designed and installed.
1892 Great Dunstan was rehung on a new steel girder headstock by Samuel B. Goslin of Bishopsgate.
1897 The bells were rehung by Thomas Blackbourne to Mr J. K. Jerram's design.
1923 The bells were augmented to 12 by Whitechapel with the addition of 2 treble bells given as a War Memorial for members of the Kent County Association.
1951 The Tenor was recast by Whitechapel and all the bells were rehung on ball bearings.
1981 7 of the bells in the Oxford Tower were scrapped and a new ring of 12 with two semitone bells were cast and hung in the Oxford Tower in a new frame. Great Dunstan together with 5 of the old bells in the clock chime were hung in the Arundel Tower. Three cast iron framesides and two sets of fittings (presumably from the trebles) were reused at Tacolneston, Norfolk.
[1] The admirers of bell-music in this city have for the last three days been entertained a man playing various tunes upon the fine peal of eight bells in our cathedral. The method used by this Campanalogist is, fastening the ends of the bell-ropes down to the floor the belfry, tightened so much as to bring the clappers nearly to touch the edge of each bell; then raising himself upon a platform in the centre with all the ropes within his reach, a slight blow from the hand or arm upon any of the ropes produces the note required. (Kentish Gazette (Tuesday 08 March 1791))
[2] CANTERBURY, June 4. Tuesday being the day for a General Thanksgiving, it was devoutly observed throughout this city. The Mayor and Corporation went to the Cathedral in the morning, where a very excellent sermon was preached by the Rev. Dr. Wellfit The new musical peal of Bells, at the Cathedral, (consisting of ten) were opened on the occasion, which were rang several times in the course of the day. (Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal (Friday 04 June 1802))

The Belfry


Viewed from above, the 8th is on the left, the extra treble at the bottom - both these bells are on the upper tier. The tenor may be seen in the top right.
Photo: Dickon Love

Again from above, the 3rd, 4th and 5th may be seen in a row. The bell on the upper tier at the extreme right is the flat 6th.
Photo: Dickon Love

From the side, the 8th (left) and extra treble may be seen on the top tier. The 5th and 6th may be seen at the bottom.
Photo: Dickon Love

Photographs from various restorations


The tenor on the floor of the cathedral awaiting hanging in 1981.
Photo: James Hedgecock, 1981

Bells 5,6,7 and 8 of the old ring.
Photo: Richard Offen collection

The tenor being recast at Whitechapel in 1951.
Photo: Richard Offen collection

The "new" 1951 tenor.
Photo: Richard Offen collection

The 1951 tenor coming back down the tow in 1981.
Photo: Richard Offen collection

The "new" tenor removed from the tower in 1981.
Photo: Richard Offen collection

Tenor lifted out of its pit from which the inner frameside has been removed to allow Great Dunstan to pass.
Photo: David Cawley, 1981

11th on the ground, 1981.
Photo: David Cawley, 1981

Tenor on the ground.
Photo: David Cawley, 1981

The old 11th and the old treble.
Photo: David Cawley, 1981

The treble in 1981.
Photo: David Cawley, 1981

The 8th on the ground.
Photo: David Cawley, 1981

Peal Boards

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1991
20 Apr 1991: 5081 Grandsire Cinques (Enthronement of Most Rev George Carey as Archbishop.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1980
25 Mar 1980: 5081 Grandsire Cinques (Enthronement of Most Rev Robert Runcie as Archbishop.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 2003
01 Mar 2003: 5015 Grandsire Cinques (Enthronement of Most Rev Rowan Williams as Archbishop.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1981
26 Dec 1981: 5016 Plain Bob Maximus (1st peal on the new ring.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1997
17 May 1997: 5042 Cambridge S Maximus (1400th anniversary of St Augustine in England and the foundation of Canterbury Cathedral.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1816
08 Feb 1816: 5040 Plain Bob Major (1st peal on the bells.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1982
29 May 1982: 5059 Grandsire Cinques (For the visit of Pope John Paul II.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1978
12 Aug 1978: 5081 Grandsire Cinques (For the Lambeth Conference. 1st 12 bell peal by the Society.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1854
09 Jan 1754: 5040 Grandsire Triples

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1816
04 Jan 1816: 5040 Grandsire Triples (2nd peal on the bells.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1988
08 Dec 1987: 5040 Yorkshire S Royal (For the visit of The Oecumenical Patriarch Demetrios I.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Framed card Bell/Restoration Detail Board dated 1951

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Framed card Bell/Restoration Detail Board dated approx. 1923

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Framed card Bell/Restoration Detail Board dated approx. 1923

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Stone Performance Board dated approx. 1825
27 Dec 1824: 5076 Grandsire Caters (1st peal on the 10 bells.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Timber Performance Board dated 2019
04 Feb 2012: 5019 Stedman Cinques (Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.)
27 May 2012: 1320 Plain Bob Maximus (Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.)
02 Jun 2012: 5016 Plain Bob Maximus (Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2019

Stone Performance Board dated approx. 1925
18 Dec 1924: 5007 Stedman Cinques (1st peal on the 12 bells.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Stone Performance Board dated approx. 1884
26 Feb 1884: 5040 Grandsire Triples

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Metal Performance Board dated approx. 1975
17 May 1975: 5003 Grandsire Caters (Enthronement of Most Rev Donald Coggan as Archbishop.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Framed card Performance Board dated approx. 1946
17 Aug 1946: 5007 Stedman Cinques (Annual ringing week of Universities Association.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1903
27 Mar 1903: 5035 Stedman Caters (Half muffled for the funeral of Dean Farrar.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Photo: Tom Winter, 25 May 2017

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1983
29 Jan 1983: 5019 Stedman Cinques (Retirement of Canon Derek Ingram-Hill.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1982

Photo: Dickon R Love, 29 December 2017



Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent Page updated: 22 March 2020