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Tonbridge
 

Tonbridge, Ss Peter & Paul


Photo: Dickon Love, 16 Sept 2017

Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)

(Supplied weight)
Diameter Note Date FounderRetuned
® Treble 5-2-2129" E♭ 1952 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel
® 2 6-0-2030" D 1952 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel
® 3 6-1-2632" C 1952 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel
® 4 7-2-47-3-1533⅞" B♭ 1774 Pack & Chapman, Whitechapel"Maiden bell" Tuned 1951 Mears & Stainbank
® 5 8-3-239-1-2336¾" A♭ 1774 Pack & Chapman, Whitechapel"Maiden bell" Tuned 1951 Mears & Stainbank
® 6 10-1-2710-3-2539⅜" G 1774 Pack & Chapman, Whitechapel"Tuned ¼" Tuned 1951 Mears & Stainbank
® 7 14-1-2742⅞" F 1952 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel
® Tenor 19-1-048½" E♭ 1897 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel
Priest's Bell ½ cwt approx.13¼" A♭ Unknown

®  - Hung for full circle ringing

Of the 1774 ring of eight (cast weights given)

Bell Weight
(most recent)
DiameterDateFounderRetunedFate
Treble (of 8)6-0-829½"1774Pack & Chapman"Maiden bell"Recast 1951
2nd (of 8)6-2-130¼"1774Pack & Chapman"Maiden bell"Recast 1951
3rd (of 8)6-2-2231⅞"1774Pack & Chapman"Maiden bell"Recast 1951
7th (of 8)14-0-943"1774Pack & Chapman"Tuned ¼"Recast 1951
Tenor (of 8)19-3-548½"1774Pack & Chapman"Maiden bell"Recast 1897

1913 recast

Bell Weight
(most recent)
DiameterDateFounderRetunedFate
Treble (of 2)6-0-829½"1913Mears & StainbankNeverRecast 1951

History

c 1700 The Sanctus Bell was recast.
1774 Ring of 8 cast by Pack & Chapman to replace an earlier ring of 6.
1837 There was a disagreement between the ringers and Vicar. The ringers wanted to ring the bells to celebrate the return of their Liberal MP to Parliament. However the Vicar, who was a Tory told the ringers to be silent. One of the ringers taunted the Vicar saying that his cure consisted of 'souls' not 'bells' and that he should but out. The ringers appealed to the MP, who did not want to make an issue out of this. The Vicar made up with the ringers by presenting them with a sovereign, but reminded them that if they tried that trick again, he would have them in court! [1]
1879 Church completely restored and a second south aisle added.
1897 Tenor recast by Mears & Stainbank.
1913 Treble recast by Mears & Stainbank.
1948 John Taylor & Co. visited the tower and condemned the frame. They found the 7th cracked and quoted for recasting it and tuning the other secen with all new fittings and frames (including for the Priest's bell. They also quoted for recasting the lot (except the Priest's bell) to a new eight, 19 cwt in E ("along the lines of the bells we cast for St George, Gravesend or The Annunciation, Chislehurst").
1951 Bells 1, 2, 3 and 7 recast by Mears & Stainbank.
[1] Public Dinner to T. L. Hodges, Esq., M.P., at Tonbridge: One circumstance connected with this dinner requires particular notice. On the second day of the election, the loyal and Liberal inhabitants of Tonbridge wishes to celebrate the return of Mr. Hodges - the "Old English Gentleman" - in an Old English manner - namely, by having a joyful peal upon their own church bells, which they probably bought, and certainly keep in repair, out of their church-rates. The ringers had been engaged with their usual skill for some time and everybody’s heart was dancing with glee, - when the Tory Vicar, Sir Charles Hardinge, entered the belfry, and commanded the ringers to be silent. We hear that one of them had spirit enough to remind the Rev. Vicar that his cure consisted, not of "bells" but of "souls;" and that he would follow out the injunctions of his meek and lowly master, by applying his zeal to the body of his church rather than the belfry! The ringers, however, consulted the Liberals, who, like loyal and peaceful subjects as they are, preferred losing the music of their bells to a squabble with their spiritual shepherd; and, in the words of a shrewd correspondent, "left the worthy Vicar in the full, quiet, and peaceful possession of 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. bob, dodge, etc." On the next day the heart of the Vicar softened a little, and, with the caprice which seems his great characteristic, he presented the ringers with a sovereign! Subsequently his heart became as hard as Pharoah’s, and he declared that if any person dared to ring the bells he would bring an action (of ecclesiastical waste, we presume!) against him, in the Ecclesiastical Court! Application was made in the usual form to Mr Jewhurst, the Churchwarden; but not a clapper was permitted to way in the cause of Reform, although Mr. Jewhurst, in addressing the first reform meeting that was held in Tonbridge, very truly stated that "the cause of reform founded on righteousness!" (South Eastern Gazette - Tues 22 Aug 1837)

Gallery


The belfry, with the tenor in the foreground.
Photo: Dickon Love, 31 Dec 2004

The Sanctus bell hung in its own pit in the frame.
Photo: Dickon Love, 31 Dec 2004

Peal Boards

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1987
07 Dec 1986: 1260 Plain Bob Triples (100th anniversary of the local change ringing society.)
13 Dec 1986: 1260 Plain Bob Triples (100th anniversary of the local change ringing society.)
13 Dec 1986: 1260 Grandsire Triples (100th anniversary of the local change ringing society.)
14 Dec 1986: 1260 Stedman Triples (100th anniversary of the local change ringing society.)

Photo: Richard A Smith, 22 August 2018

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1963
02 Nov 1963: 5056 Cambridge S Major

Photo: Richard A Smith, 22 August 2018

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1965
30 Jan 1965: 5040 Grandsire Triples (in memoriam Sir Winston Churchill.)

Photo: Richard A Smith, 22 August 2018

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1967
10 Dec 1966: 5088 Tonbridge S Major

Photo: Richard A Smith, 22 August 2018

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1969
01 Mar 1969: 5056 Spliced S Major (4m)

Photo: Richard A Smith, 22 August 2018

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 2002
22 Jun 2002: 5040 Grandsire Triples (Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.)

Photo: Richard A Smith, 22 August 2018

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1887
10 May 1887: 5040 Grandsire Triples

Photo: Richard A Smith, 22 August 2018

Timber Bell/Restoration Detail Board dated approx. 1887

Photo: Richard A Smith, 22 August 2018

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1897
23 Sept 1896: 5040 Grandsire Triples
22 Jun 1897: 5040 Grandsire Triples

Photo: Richard A Smith, 22 August 2018

Recent Peals
The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
2020-02-095120 Chesterfield Surprise Major
2014-05-185088 Yorkshire Surprise Major
2010-02-135024 Spliced Surprise Major
1992-03-145088 Bristol Surprise Major
1985-08-105152 Yorkshire Surprise Major
1974-02-235088 London Surprise Major
1972-05-075280 Spliced Surprise Major
1969-10-195184 Spliced Surprise Major
1968-02-045280 Spliced Surprise Major
1965-05-305056 Wembley Surprise Major
1964-04-195280 Spliced Surprise Major
1903-09-305040 Grandsire Triples
1903-03-075040 Stedman Triples
1901-02-025040 Grandsire Triples
1899-01-245040 Plain Bob Major
1898-12-285040 Stedman Triples
1898-10-055024 Kent Treble Bob Major
1898-05-285040 Grandsire Triples
1898-05-075040 Grandsire Triples
1898-01-155040 Grandsire Triples
1897-11-095040 Grandsire Triples
1897-11-095040 Grandsire Triples
1897-08-185152 Kent Treble Bob Major
1897-06-225040 Grandsire Triples
1897-06-055040 Grandsire Triples
Recent Quarter Peals
The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
2020-03-081260 Doubles (4m)
2020-02-231296 Double Norwich Court Bob Major
2020-02-031344 Kenninghall Surprise Major
2020-01-251260 Grandsire Triples
2020-01-051274 Grandsire Variable Treble Triples
2019-12-221260 Single Oxford Bob Triples
2019-12-081260 Middlesex Bob Triples
2019-11-171296 Plain Bob Minor
2019-10-271260 Plain Bob Doubles
2019-10-131280 Yorkshire Surprise Major
2019-09-291260 Doubles (1p/2m)
2019-09-221250 Cambridge Surprise Minor
2019-09-141280 Cambridge Surprise Major
2019-09-081279 Spliced Surprise Major (8)
2019-08-241400 Plain Bob Triples
2019-08-181260 Grandsire Triples
2019-08-111320 Cambridge Surprise Minor
2019-08-041504 Double Norwich Court Bob Major
2019-07-281320 Doubles (4m)
2019-07-141320 Doubles (2m)
2019-06-231280 Superlative Surprise Major
2019-05-261344 Plain Bob Major
2019-04-281260 Grandsire Doubles
2019-04-181260 Plain Bob Triples
2019-04-141280 Double Norwich Court Bob Major
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: 28 June 2020