Minster in Sheppey

Minster in Sheppey, Ss Mary & Sexburga

Photo: Dickon Love

  • 6 bells hung for full circle ringing
  • Tenor: 10-2-0 in G♭.
  • Grid Ref: TQ956729
  • Rung from: Open Gallery
  • Denomination: Church of England
    Diocese (Anglican): Canterbury
    Archdeaconry (Anglican): Maidstone
  • Kent County Association of Change Ringers District: Rochester
  • Building Listed Grade: I Click for Heritage details.
  • Peals rung at the tower

Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)

(Prior to retuning in 1929)
Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
® Treble 4-0-126¹⁵⁄₁₆" E♭ 1929 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Flat Never
® 2 4-0-124-1-428⅝" D♭ 1883 Gillett & Co, Croydon (625) Conventional 1929 Mears & Stainbank
® 3 5-1-2231⅛" C♭ 1663 William Hatch Conventional Never
® 4 6-3-832¹³⁄₁₆" B♭ 1929 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Flat Never
® 5 8-0-48-0-1135⅛" A♭ 1663 William Hatch Conventional 1929 Mears & Stainbank
® Tenor 10-2-010-3-439½" G♭ 1663 William Hatch Conventional 1929 Mears & Stainbank

®  - Hung for full circle ringing


Frame Bells Year Maker Material Truss(es) Local
1 All bells 1663 Timber

From the 1663 ring of five

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Treble (of 5)4-2-1128½"D1663William HatchNeverRecast 1883 as cracked.
3rd (of 5)6-1-221663William HatchNeverRecast 1929 as cracked.


1602 It is believed that Joseph Hatch cast a bell for St James', Warden.
1663 Ring of 5 cast by William Hatch.
1883 Cracked treble (of 5) recast by Gillett & Co. Cast March 30th. Dispatched 4th May. The church magazine stated in Jan "we now have a beautiful new treble bell and all the other four have been carefully overhauled and put in working order." The rehanging was done by Samuel Snelling. [1]
1884 8th July The bells were re-opened at a special service where The Rev'd R. B. Knatchbull-Huggessen preached.
1929 3rd (of 5) recast as it was cracked and treble added by Mears & Stainbank from the metal of a bell from St James', Warden. The remainder were retuned (apart from the 2nd of 5) and rehung. The bells were rededicated on 23rd March by the Dean of Canterbury Cathedral.
1973 Present ringing gallery installed.
[1] Excerpt from "A history of the abbey church of Minster, Isle of Sheppey, Kent : with a description of the monuments, and other matters relating to this ancient parish 1896" (Rev'd William Bramston) The church belfry being part of the Church, access to it cannot be had, nor the bells rung, without the permission of the incumbent, who is responsible. In 1862 a case was tried, in which the church ringers, backed up by the churchwardens and the parish clerk, had broken open the belfry and rung the bells, because there had been a meet of hounds in the village, and this when they had been forbidden to do so by the vicar. The judge condemned them, and the ringers were admonished, and ordered to pay the costs. Being unable to do this, they remained in prison five weeks, until other persons had paid them. We mention this, because sometimes bells have been used very wrongly as, for instance, at times of general elections, or to commemorate the triumph of one party in a town or village over another when really they ought only to be used for purposes of harmony, and to declare peace on earth. Their sweet sounds, so melancholy in the ears of some, should never be connected with any earthly divisions. They should only speak to every one, rich or poor, Conservative or Liberal, of the faith necessary in One who came for the eternal good of all. May our bells ever do this, and may they never sound un-worthily, or appeal to any of our baser passions ! So far as we can ascertain, the history of Minster bells is as follows : Canon Hilton, rector of Milstead some years ago, when rural dean, had rubbings taken of these bells. Dr. Francis Grayling, of Sittingbourne, also took note of their size and weight. In the island, Minster takes the place of honour with a ring of five bells, in good order for ringing, and heavier than any other peal. All of them were dated alike " 1663." The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd bells have in small letters, " William Hatch made me, 1663"; and the 4th and tenor in capital letters, "WILLIAM HATCH MADE ME." The 3rd bell has the letters " I.P." The 4th bell, "T.D., T.M. C.W."; and the tenor " S.S.," with the same letters as the 4th bell. These two bells have also a little seal, with three bells, one placed over the others, impressed on them. The treble was cracked for a few years; but was recast in 1883, and now carries the mark " Gillett, Bland & Co., Croydon, recast A.D. 1883," and has " 625 " impressed under its cannon. Dr. Francis Grayling took upon himself the whole cost of the recasting. Mr. S. Snelling carried out the whole work of rehanging. The weight of the tenor is 12 J cwts., and the diameters are 29, 31, 33, 36, 39J inches respectively. ("A history of the abbey church of Minster, Isle of Sheppey, Kent", Rev'd William Bramston 1896)


  • "The Abbey of Ss Mary and Sexburgha, Minster-in-Sheppey, Kent", Beal, Janet M (The Ringing World) 7 June 1974
  • Recent Quarter Peals
    The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
    2018-01-201320 Cambridge Surprise Minor
    2014-11-291260 Stedman Doubles
    Full list of peals on Bellboard here
    Full list of quarters on Bellboard here

    Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent Page updated: 1 April 2016