Bobbing, St Bartholomew

  • 6 bells hung for full circle ringing
  • Tenor: 8-2-21 in A♭.
  • Grid Ref: TQ888651
  • Rung from: Ground Floor
  • Frame: 1804 Thomas Sweetlove (probably), made of timber
  • 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)
Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
® Treble 4-1-1826¾" F 1804 Thomas Mears I, Whitechapel Never
® 2 4-3-1228¾" E♭ 1804 Thomas Mears I, Whitechapel Never
® 3 5-3-130½" D♭ 1804 Thomas Mears I, Whitechapel Never
® 4 6-2-1132¼" C 1804 Thomas Mears I, Whitechapel Never
® 5 8-0-1535¼" B♭ 1804 Thomas Mears I, Whitechapel Never
® Tenor 8-2-2135⅞" A♭ 1935 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Never

®  - Hung for full circle ringing


Frame Bells Year Maker Material Truss(es) Local
1 All bells 1804 William Roper


Prior to 1935

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Tenor (of 6)8-2-2737¼"A♭1804Thomas Mears INeverRecast 1935.

Earlier ring of Five

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Treble (of 5)?UnknownRecast 1804
2nd (of 5)5-0-8UnknownRecast 1804
3rd (of 5)5-1-8UnknownRecast 1804
4th (of 5)7-1-27UnknownRecast 1804
Tenor (of 5)8-3-13UnknownRecast 1804


1798 Record of 5 bells in the tower. [1]
1804 The tower and shingled spire had become "so ruinous and dangerous a State that a thorough Repair thereof and the new hanging the Bells therein was absolutely necessary and that a New Bell should be added whereto which has been since done and the same put into good order." 4 of the 5 bells were transported up the River Thames to Whitechapel by Mr Francis Smith (bill dated 17th August, 1804). They were recast into 6 bells and transported back, at a cost of £6. 6s. It is not known what became of the treble - it was not transported to Whitechapel with the others, and it may yet exist elsewhere! The new bell frame was made by Mr William Roper which, together with the repair of the shingled spire, came to a cost of £45. 7s.6d. (settled 4th August, 1804). The Whitechapel "Peals Book" notes that "The 5th Bell that was cast for this Peal went to Sheffield instead of the present 5 that Bell was 2' 10½" by 2½" and rather too sharp for this Peal." The remodelled ring was opened on 3 Sept by the Gillingham ringers. [2]
1810 The bell wheels were mended.
1884 Bells quarter-turned and rehung by John Warner & Sons: "a clumsy reversed staple was used and the crowns of the bells drilled right outside the radius of the cannons."
1919 11th November Mears & Stainbank inspected the tower. The tenor was badly cracked, the fracture extending from the centre of the crown over the shoulder to the waist of the bell caused by a cast in crown staple. "The timber in the the framework is sound, but while the timber it lays on is perfectly sound, the foundation it stands on is very insecure. The frame rests on six 10" x 6" oak beams, the ends of which take their bearing on 8" x 8" wall plates running along the East and West walls. These wall plates are supported by stone corbels. None of these beams are fastened to the walls, and masonry round most of the corbels is breaking away, One of the corbels under the tenor has sunk considerably. On the West wall a wood trusswork has been put in, probably to take the load off the stone corbels in the wall". They recommended that all ringing stop as it was damaging the tower. They gave the options to fix 3 steel girders as support to the frame, anchored and cemented into the North and South walls. Alternatively they preferred to rehang the bells in a new iron frame 5'6" lower in the tower. Neither option was followed.
1935 An order was placed on 5th July, 1935 to follow the plan suggested by the church architect, T.F.W. Grant, to suspend the old frame from the tower roof, after it had been strengthened and the bells removed from it. The defective stone corbels were removed together with the old foundation beams. Four new teak beams were inserted lower in the tower on to which the frame was lowered and securely bolted to it. Thus the old frame was left intact. The tenor was recast by Mears & Stainbank. All the work came to £247. 8s. 0d., paid on 30th Nov. 1935.
2013 The 5th bell was reported to be cracked.
[1] The church, which is dedicated to St. Bartholomew, consists of two small isles and two chancels, having a tall spire steeple at the west end of it, in which are five bells. (The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 6, Edward Hasted)
[2] NEW PEAL OF BELLS. ON MONDAY next, the 3d September, will be opened at Bobbing church, next Sittingbourne, A New Peal of Six Bells, by the Gentlemen Gillingham; to begin at ten o'clock the forenoon. A good Ordinary at the Key, Key-street, by Anna Roper, at two o'clock. Bobbing, Aug 27, 1804. (Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 28 August 1804)

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