Wittersham, St John the Baptist

Photo: Richard Offen, 2006

  • 8 bells hung for full circle ringing
  • Tenor: 16-2-8 in E
  • Grid Ref: TQ897269
  • Rung from: Upstairs Ringing Room
  • Frame: 1967 John Taylor & Co.
  • Denomination: Church of England
  • Diocese (Anglican): Canterbury
  • Archdeaconry (Anglican): Ashford
  • Kent County Association of Change Ringers District: Ashford
  • Building Listed Grade: I Click for Heritage details.
  • Peals rung at the tower (Felstead Database)

  • Sound clip of the ring of bells.(Damian S Smith)

    Details of the Bells

    Bell Weight
    (most recent)

    (Before retuning in 1937)

    (After retuning in 1937)

    (Supplied weight)
    Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
    ® Treble 5-0-26 28¼" E 1997 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Flat Never
    ® 2 5-2-12 30" D♯ 1861 George Mears & Co., Whitechapel Removed 1998 John Taylor & Co.
    ® 3 6-1-5 6-2-4 6-1-10 32" C♯ 1937 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Flat 1937 Mears & Stainbank, 1967 John Taylor & Co
    ® 4 7-1-19 7-3-7 7-1-26 34" B 1609 Joseph Carter II, Whitechapel Conventional 1937 Mears & Stainbank, 1967 John Taylor & Co
    ® 5 9-1-2 9-2-18 9-1-3 37" A 1609 Joseph Carter II, Whitechapel Conventional 1937 Mears & Stainbank, 1967 John Taylor & Co
    ® 6 11-1-27 11-2-2 11-2-2 39¼" G♯ 1609 Joseph Carter II, Whitechapel Conventional 1967 John Taylor & Co
    ® 7 13-2-6 13-2-15 41⅞" F♯ 1951 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon (6950) Flat 1967 John Taylor & Co
    ® Tenor 16-2-8 17-1-2 16-2-20 46½" E 1629 John Wilnar, Borden, Kent Removed 1937 Mears & Stainbank, 1967 John Taylor & Co

    ® - Hung for full circle ringing

    Bellframes

    Frame Bells Year Maker Material Truss(es) Local
    Layout
    1 All bells 1967 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Cast iron
    Inscriptions on the Bells

    Earlier bell

    Bell Weight
    (most recent)

    (Before retuning in 1937)
    Diameter Date Founder Retuned Fate
    4th (of 5) 13-2-8 13-2-26 43½" 1808 Thomas Mears II Never Recast 1951
    History

    1552 Record of 5 bells.. [1]
    1609 Treble, 2nd and 3rd (of 5) recast by Joseph Carter II.
    1629 Tenor recast by John Wilnar. At over 18 cwt, this was the largest recorded bell from this foundry.
    1799 Record of a "peal of bells". [2]
    1808 4th (of 5) recast by Thomas Mears II.
    1937 A treble bell was added to fill the empty pit in the anticlockwise wooden frame to augment the peal to 6. The remaining bells were retuned (apart from the 4th) and rehung. The 5th cracked within 6 months.
    1938 The 5th (of 6) cracked, within 6 months of the Whitechapel restoration. The led to a delay in the dedication.
    1951 6th May The cracked 5th was finally recast, this time by Gillett & Johnston. Bells rededicated.
    1967 The bells were rehung clockwise in the back 6 pits of a new frame for 8 bells. They were rededicated that April.
    c1995 For a while the single bell from St Stephen's, Tovil was stored in the church while it suitability as a future treble was considered. It ended up at Shellingford, Oxon in 1998.
    1996 All Saints, Hawkhurst became redundant. The 3 bells were saved, the treble being earmarked as a 2nd of a future octave for Wittersham. At the same time, a bell from St Stephen's Tovil was acquired as possible additional bell. This proved unsuitable, and after sitting on the floor of the church for a while, was transferred (through the Keltek Trust) to Shellingford, Oxon.
    1997 30th October A new treble was cast at Loughborough to make 8.
    1998 1st March Bells rededicated.

    [1] Item v gret bells and ij hand bells.' ('Edwardian Inventory, 1552)
    [2] The church, which is exempt from the jurisdiction of the archdeacon, is dedicated to St. John Baptist. It is a handsome building, consisting of two isles and two chancels, having a tower steeple at the west end, built in the beginning of king Henry the VIIIth.'s reign, in which hangs a peal of bells.' (''The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent. Vol 8', Edward Hasted)
    Literary collection

  • "Rededication of Wittersham (Kent) Bells", PFD (The Ringing World) 12 April 1967
  • "St John the Baptist, Wittersham, Kent", Mash, Karen A (The Ringing World) 10 July 1998
  • Peal boards

    Timber Performance Board dated approx. 2015

  • May 2015 : 5024 Plain Bob Major (In mem. S Geoffrey Waters.)

  • Photo: Martin Marshall, 30 December 2022


    Page updated: 1 April 2016