Newington juxta Sittingbourne

Newington juxta Sittingbourne, St Mary the Virgin

  • 6 bells hung for full circle ringing
  • Tenor: 11-3-6 in F♯.
  • Grid Ref: TQ862653
  • Rung from: Upstairs Ringing Room
  • Frame: 1903 Mears & Stainbank
  • 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)

(Measured 1903)

(As received 1970)
Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
® Treble 3-3-154-1-164-1-927½" D♯ 1774 Pack & Chapman, Whitechapel Removed 1970 John Taylor & Co
® 2 4-3-225-0-225-0-2029½" C♯ 1622 John Wilnar, Borden, Kent Removed 1970 John Taylor & Co
® 3 6-1-126-3-06-1-2632½" B 1400 Unknown Removed 1970 John Taylor & Co
® 4 7-2-228-1-68-1-435½" A♯ 1902 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Removed 1970 John Taylor & Co
® 5 10-0-2110-1-2210-1-439" G♯ 1622 John Wilnar, Borden, Kent Removed 1970 John Taylor & Co
® Tenor 11-3-612-0-1412-0-1142¼" F♯ 1902 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Removed 1970 John Taylor & Co

®  - Hung for full circle ringing


Frame Bells Year Maker Material Truss(es) Local
1 All bells 1902 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Timber


Earlier bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)
4th (of 6)8-0-936"1622John WilnarNeverRecast in 1902
Tenor (of 6)12-1-542½"1622John WilnarNeverRecast in 1902


1622 5 or 6 bells cast by John Wilnar.
1774 Treble (of 6) added or recast by Pack & Chapman.
1899 As part of the fundraising for restoring the bells, the local newspapers said that all six bells had not been rung for 30 years, and that £250 was needed to restore them. [1]
1902 4th and tenor recast by Mears & Stainbank. The tenor weighed 12-0-14.
1903 Bells rehung in a new frame by Mears & Stainbank. They were dedicated on 22 April by the Bishop of Dover where there was a congregation of nearly 500 people. The cost of the work was £450. [2] [3]
1969 19th Oct. Last touch on the bells prior to restoration.
1970 Bells tuned and rehung with new fittings by John Taylor.
1989 The 3rd was discovered to be cracked and was welded by Soundweld and rehung.
[1] BAZAAR AT SITTINGBOURNE. A grand bazaar and fancy fair was held at Sittingbourne on Tuesday and Wednesday to assist the fund for the restoration of Newington church tower and bells. That the restoration of the Newington bells is necessary is illustrated by the fact that the complete peal of six bells has not been rung in that village for thirty years. The estimated cost of the work is £250. (Kentish Express. Sat 25 Nov 1899)
[2] NEWINGTON PARISH CHURCH. Wednesday, April 22nd, 1903, 3.30p.m.:- DEDICATION OF RESTORED TOWER AND BELLS, by the Rt. Rev. The Lord Bishop of Dover. (East Kent Gazette, Sat 18 Apr 1903)
[3] ST. MARY'S CHURCH, NEWINGTON. RESTORATION OF THE TOWER AND BELLS. Under the aegis of its Vicar, the Rev. A. St. Quintin Sproule, church life in the parish of Newington has been wonderfully revived. If any proof of this were needed it was forthcoming on Wednesday last, when a congregation of nearly 500 people assembled in the beautiful old church of St. Mary, to publicly offer thanks to God for having blessed the efforts that have been made during the past few years to complete the restoration of the church. These efforts were directed to the restoration of the tower and the bells, and this work having been completed, a dedication service took place on Wednesday afternoon, conducted by the Lord Bishop of Dover (Dr. Walsh). The church, originally a small Romanesue building, was greatly enlarged in the 14th century, and an entirely new tower was built in the 15th century, which is one of the finest in Kent. The chancel is the Romanesque one, and the vestry, situated to the north, is the base of the first tower - in contradistinction to the churches of Bapchild and Tonge, where it is to the south. The arches between the chancel and the north chapel, together with the oblon pier, were executed in the 12th century, and go do show that, independently of the French influence at Canterbury, a native pointed arch style was being invented. In the present instance it is the finely proportioned tower that claims attention, for this is the particular part of the building where the work of restoration has been carried out. This has consisted of a strengthening of the tower and fabric, while a stoutly-timbered floor has been put in underneath that part of the tower occupied by the bells. The westernmost window on the south side of the church has also been completely restored. This window was in an advanced stage of diapidation, but not reflecting the inspiration that has revived both spiritual and temporal church life at Newington, it has been restored to its original condition. New oak doors, heavily traceried, have been placed at the tower entrance, in keeping with the rest of teh tower; and a bronze tablet is to be seen on the tower walls, commemorative of the restoration. The Jacobaean panel that was recovered by the late Vicar (Rev. G. R. Baker) is now to be seen at the top of the south aisle. When the plaster is stripped from the roof of the nave and aisles and Lady Chapel, exposing to view the rafters; and when the parclose screen is restored, there will be little left for the Vicar and churchwardens to be worried over. But without these finishing touches, the parishioners may congratulate themselves upon the possession of a church which has been, so far as the fabric is concerned, restored as like to its original condition as architectural genius and builder's skill can make it. This work has been admirably executed under the direction of Mr. J. Martin Brooks, A.R.I.B.A. (the son of that eminent architect, the late Mr James Brooks), the gentleman who was responsible for the restoration of the chancel, which was done a few years since; and how well Mr. Martin Brooks has succeeded in preserving the mediaeval characteristics of the building is to be seen by a visit to that fine old church, whose tower rises so conspicuously from the valley that stretches between the railway and Wardwell Woods. The church is set in an adyllic picture, as it werel as all seasons of the year there is something to admire in the surroundings which have been so freely bestowed by the Architect of the Universe. Mr. W. E. Brittenden, of Newington, the builder, also deserves a word of commendation for the responsible part he has taken in the work. With regard to the restoration of the Newington bells, that has been a work that has exercised the minds of several gentlemen for many years. Mr. John Hanmer, the former parish churchwarden at Newington, took a keen interest in their restoration, and worked hard in the cause. When he left Newington - and before that time arrived - the Vicar, with all the hypnotic enthusiasm at his command, resolutely set himself to work for this object; and Wednesday's proceedings must have been very sweet indeed to Mr. Sproule. For a quarter of a century, we are told, the bells of Newington have been silent - in the general sense of the term. Now, thanks to organised enthusiasm, the bells - some re-cast, and other finely tuned - will ring out their joyous messages. Thoroughly restored as they are, the Newington church bells will, in the fullest sense of the word, "Ring out the old, ring in the new" era. With Cowper in the parishioners of this favoured parish will now be able to say - How soft the music of those village bells Falling at intervals upon the ear In cadence sweet! The Newington bells date from 1602 to 1774. The second, third, fourth, and sizth bells (the latter before the re-casting) were made by John Wilner, of Borden, in 1622. There was a bell foundry in that village from 1619 to 1644. The fourth bell (previous to re-casting) had no mark or inscription, and is supposed by some (says a correspondent) to have been cast by Hathc, of Ulcombe, Kent, in the middle of the 17th century. Bell No. 1 was cast by Pack and Chapman, of London, in 1774, this firm being the predecessors of Messrs. Mears and Stainbank, of Whitechapel, who have undertaken the re-hanging of the bells, and the re-casting of the fourth and sixth bells. The approximate weights of the bells are:_ No. 1, treble, 4½cwt.; 2, 6cwt.; 3, 7¾cwt.; 4, 9¾cwt,; 5,11½cwt., and 6, 13cwt. We may add that there were several bell founders in Kent two or three hundred years ago - notably the case of Wilner, of Borden; but none of these local bells ever achieved the excellence afterwards attained by the Whitechapel bells. Messrs. Mears and Stainbank have done their work well. The restored bells are so finely balanced that quite a gently touch is all the is necessary to set them in motion; and their tone is music indeed. [Details of the dedication service] After the service a short peal was rung on the bells by the following band:- J. G. Grensted 1, John Grensted 2, G. Hales 3, W. Millard 4, J. Hadley 5, and W. Homewood 6. Mr. W. Brittenden, and old Newington ringer, was also in the ringing chamber. A large company of visitors were afterwards entertained at tea at the Vicarage. [Details of Evensong] In the afternoon the Vicar announced that £370 had already been raised, but the total cost of the work was £450. (East Kent Gazette, Sat 25 Apr 1903)


  • "St Mary's, Newington-next-Sittingbourne, Kent", Author unknown (The Ringing World) 13 August 1971
  • Recent Peals
    The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
    1996-07-205040 Surprise Minor
    1991-11-035040 Minor (7m)
    1979-03-105040 Minor
    Recent Quarter Peals
    The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
    2023-03-191260 Grandsire Doubles
    2022-12-161260 Doubles (3m)
    2022-11-201260 Grandsire Doubles
    2022-09-151260 Grandsire Doubles
    2022-06-041260 Grandsire Doubles
    2019-10-221260 Plain Bob Doubles
    2019-07-281260 Plain Bob Minor
    2018-12-011260 Single Oxford Bob Minor
    2017-11-041260 St Martin's Bob Doubles
    2016-05-051320 Kent Treble Bob Minor
    2015-09-031260 Plain Bob Doubles
    2014-05-311260 St Clement's College Bob Minor
    2014-03-221260 Grandsire Doubles
    1988-08-311260 St Martin's Bob Doubles
    1987-01-311320 Carlisle Surprise Minor
    1985-01-041440 Spliced Surprise Minor (12m)
    1978-08-221320 St Clement's College Bob Minor
    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