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

  • 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 5-0-2628¼" E 1997 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Flat Never
® 2 5-2-1230" D♯ 1861 George Mears & Co., Whitechapel Removed 1998 John Taylor & Co.
® 3 6-1-56-2-46-1-1032" C♯ 1937 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Flat 1937 Mears & Stainbank, 1967 John Taylor & Co
® 4 7-1-197-3-77-1-2634" B 1609 Joseph Carter II, Whitechapel Conventional 1937 Mears & Stainbank, 1967 John Taylor & Co
® 5 9-1-29-2-189-1-337" A 1609 Joseph Carter II, Whitechapel Conventional 1937 Mears & Stainbank, 1967 John Taylor & Co
® 6 11-1-2711-2-211-2-239¼" G♯ 1609 Joseph Carter II, Whitechapel Conventional 1967 John Taylor & Co
® 7 13-2-613-2-1541⅞" F♯ 1951 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon (6950) Flat 1967 John Taylor & Co
® Tenor 16-2-817-1-216-2-2046½" E 1629 John Wilnar, Borden, Kent Removed 1937 Mears & Stainbank, 1967 John Taylor & Co

®  - Hung for full circle ringing


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


Earlier bell

Bell Weight
(most recent)

(Before retuning in 1937)
4th (of 5)13-2-813-2-2643½"1808Thomas Mears IINeverRecast 1951


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.
c 1995 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)


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

    Photo: Martin Marshall, 30 December 2022

    Recent Peals
    The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
    2023-07-085024 Rutland Surprise Major
    2015-05-025024 Plain Bob Major
    2007-09-155040 Single Oxford Bob Triples
    2006-01-025024 Spliced Surprise Major (8m)
    2005-02-055040 Grandsire Triples
    2003-12-065040 Grandsire Triples
    2003-03-015152 Spliced Surprise Major
    2002-12-075040 Double Norwich Court Bob Major
    2002-07-275024 Spliced Surprise Major
    2001-12-015184 Double Norwich Court Bob Major
    2000-12-095088 Plain Bob Major
    1998-05-255040 Grandsire Triples
    1996-11-095040 Surprise Minor
    1995-05-085040 Cambridge Surprise Minor
    1989-08-125040 Minor (5 Methods)
    1989-04-085040 Plain Bob Minor
    1988-06-255040 Plain Bob Minor
    Recent Quarter Peals
    The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
    2023-05-281280 Cambridge Surprise Major
    2022-12-291260 Plain Bob Triples
    2022-10-251260 Plain Bob Minor
    2022-06-201280 Kent Treble Bob Major
    2021-12-071260 Plain Bob Doubles
    2021-09-251344 Plain Bob Triples
    2021-09-071260 Plain Bob Doubles
    2021-08-311260 Plain Bob Doubles
    2021-08-091260 Spliced Plain Minor (2m)
    2020-02-021260 Doubles (4m)
    2019-05-271250 Rutland Surprise Major
    2019-02-231260 Mixed Doubles
    2019-02-231260 Mixed Doubles
    2018-11-041260 Grandsire Doubles
    2018-11-021250 Cambridge Treble Place Major
    2018-10-291260 Mixed Doubles
    2018-09-301260 Mixed Doubles
    2016-10-231260 Plain Bob Minor
    2016-08-081344 Potomac Surprise Major
    2015-05-121260 Single Oxford Bob Triples
    2015-05-081260 St Clements College Bob Minor
    2014-09-251260 Grandsire Doubles
    2014-05-241260 Plain Bob Doubles
    2014-03-291344 Spliced Surprise Major (6 Methods)
    2014-02-251288 Grandsire Triples
    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