Chiddingstone, St Mary the Virgin

Photo: Dickon R Love

  • 8 bells hung for full circle ringing and a sanctus
  • Tenor: 17-0-3 in E♭.
  • Grid Ref: TQ500452
  • Rung from: Upstairs Ringing Room
  • Frame: 1750 Robert Catlin
  • Denomination: Church of England
    Diocese (Anglican): Rochester
  • Kent County Association of Change Ringers District: Tonbridge
  • Building Listed Grade: II* Click for Heritage details.
  • Peals rung at the tower

Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)

(As supplied 1838)
Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
® Treble 5-1-2729¼" E♭ 1784 Robert Patrick, Whitechapel Removed 1991 Whitechapel
® 2 4-3-05-1-1229³⁄₁₆" D 1838 Thomas Mears II Removed 1991 Whitechapel
® 3 6-0-632⅛" C 1893 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Removed 1991 Whitechapel
® 4 6-1-246-3-1933½" B♭ 1838 Thomas Mears II Removed 1991 Whitechapel
® 5 8-2-2736⅞" A♭ 1784 Robert Patrick, Whitechapel Removed 1991 Whitechapel
® 6 10-0-1338¹³⁄₁₆" G 1991 Whitechapel Bell Foundry Flat 1991 Whitechapel
® 7 14-2-542¾" F 1753 Lester & Pack, Whitechapel Removed 1991 Whitechapel
® Tenor 17-0-346⅞" E♭ 1867 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Removed 1991 Whitechapel
Sanctus The Corby Bell 1-0-6 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Peg Never

®  - Hung for full circle ringing
 - Hung dead


Frame Bells Year Maker Material Truss(es) Local
Main level 1 Ring of 8 1750 Robert Catlin, Holborn
Level tba 2 Sanctus 2013 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon Steel


Original Ring of 8

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Treble (of 8)1750Robert CatlinNeverRecast in 1784.
2nd (of 8)1750Robert CatlinNeverRecast in 1838.
3rd (of 8)1750Robert CatlinNeverRecast in 1813.
4th (of 8)1750Robert CatlinNeverRecast in 1838.
5th (of 8)1750Robert CatlinNeverRecast in 1784.
6th (of 8)1750Robert CatlinNeverRecast in 1753.
7th (of 8)1750Robert CatlinNeverRecast in 1753.
Tenor (of 8)17-3-31750Robert CatlinNeverRecast in 1867.

Recast in 1893

Bell Weight
(most recent)
3rd (of 8)6-3-525"1813Thomas Mears INeverRecast in 1893. (Weight is gross)
6th (of 8)11-0-1132"1753Lester & PackNeverRecast in 1893. (Weight is gross)

Recast in 1991

Bell Weight
(most recent)
6th (of 8)10-1-271893Mears & StainbankNeverRecast in 1991 (Weight @ 1893)

Recast in 1893

Bell DateFounderFate


1565 -7 1st recorded payment for "The Reparation of the Chyming of the Clock and Bells."
1567 -9 1st recorded payment for the renewal of ropes and clappers.
1573 Bells rehung in a new frame at a cost of £10.5s.6d.
1621 Thomas Hatch was paid 3s 6d for "Hanging and Trussing the Bells."
1623 4 bell ropes were bought indicating the presence of 4 bells at the time.
1624 The church was struck by lightning and was largely destroyed on 24th July. The tenor, recast the year before, was recast again by John Wilnar for £7.15s. 5 ropes bought. Allen Hatch paid £7.2s.4d for "mending the bells". This was a considerable sum and implies that one of the bells was recast. The tenor was recast by John Wilnar for £7.15s.0d. Work took place on the clappers by a gentleman called Brooker.
1627 3 bells were recast by John Wilnar (one of which may have been a sanctus bell).
1628 5 bell ropes were bought, confirming that there were (at least) 5 bells in the tower.
1629 13th Sept. Church reconsecrated by the Bishop of Rochester.
1631 There were clearly problems with the treble bell and clapper as various pieces of work needed to be done to it. Eventually John Wilnar recast is for £8.6s.11d.
1639 Thomas Croft built a new frame for £12.16s.6d.
1680 Bells rehung by John Chatfield for £24.
1692 Tenor rehung for over £5 by Francis Udall, assisted by Thomas Shoebridge who did the ironwork.
1710 New church clock installed.
1750 The 5 bells were recast (with more metal) into 8 by Robert Catlin, who hung them in a new frame. This was Catlin's penultimate job of work.
1752 6th and 7th recast by Lester & Pack.
1784 Treble and 5th recast by Robert Patrick, acting as an agent for the bellfoundry in Whitechapel.
1813 3rd recast by Thomas Mears and the remainder repaired.
1814 "Old carved wood" was put up at the entrance of the ringing gallery as part of a general refurbishment of the church.
1817 Jan. A new window and new screen was put up in the ringing gallery, presented by Mrs Sophia Streatfeild.
1838 2nd and 4th recast by Thomas Mears. [1]
1859 Ringing gallery was pulled down and replaced with the organ.
1867 Tenor recast by Mears & Stainbank. [2]
1893 3rd and 6th recast and bells rehung by Mears & Stainbank. A clock was supplied by Gillett & Johnston. [3]
1899 Tower reported unsafe and ringing stopped.
1901 Structures built in the tower to spread the weight of the bells and frame evenly over the whole tower instead of on the holes in the stonework were put in by A E Nunn of Tenterden. Ringing could therefore resume.
1911 Minor repairs effected on the bells by Mears & Stainbank at a cost of £11.10s.
1929 7th and tenor rehung by Gillett & Johnston with new fittings.
1976 Front 6 rehung on ball bearings by Christopher Mundy and Andrew Corby with new fittings supplied by Whitechapel.
1991 6th recast and whole peal rehung by Whitechapel. They were rededicated by the Bishop of Rochester on 8th September.
2013 A bell, which was given as a silver wedding present to Philip and Lucile Corby by Frank Hairs, was presented to Chiddingstone church and hung dead as a sanctus bell by Gillett & Johnston. [4]
[1] 1838, 21st Sept: The Parish of Chiddingstone. To 2 Bells 5-1-12, 6-3-19 (12-1-5 @ 15d) £80.4.2, booking etc 10s, Hanging &c £6, Carriage £2.10. Total £89.4.2 1838 3rd Oct: The Parish of Chiddingstone - By old bells 13-2-9, £63.7.6, charges £2, Total £65.7.6; I.e. net cost £23.16.8 Dec: The Parish of Chedingstone, Kent. To Mens' time rehanging Bells, lining and turning gudgeons of tenor bell and two new rollers, £5.18.0 (Whitechapel Day Book)
[2] 1868, 7th Jan: H.D. Streatfield CW Chiddingstone, Nr. Penshurst. To a Bell Tenor recast 19-2-1 @£7/-/- £136.11.3 11th Mar: H.D. Streatfield. By old bell 18-1-2 gross (17-3-3 net) £87.2.1; I.e. net cost £49.9.2 (Whitechapel Day Book)
[3] 1893 29th Jun: Whitechapel Daybook records the recasting of 3rd and 6th bells at net cost £34.7.8. The provision of 8 sets of new fittings including 4 new wheels & new clapper for the tenor, £71. Repairs to frame & fittings & rehanging £46. Total £151.7.8. (Whitechapel Day Book)
[4] Dedication of the "Corby Bell". This bell (1-0-6) was given by Frank Hairs as a Silver Wedding gift to Phil and Lucile Corby, and hung for many years outside their house, Puckden, at Chiddingstone Hoath. After Phil's death, and following his son Andrew's move to Canterbury, the bell was taken down and stored in a garage in a nearby village. Some years ago a scheme was launched to hang the bell in Chid tower for use as a sanctus bell. This plan has now come to fruition and the bell was dedicated at the 10.00am service on Sunday 22 September 2013. A little bit of background to the bell follows below. Sir John Bennett was an upmarket clockmaker with premises in Cheapside (photo right). Mears & Stainbank (now Whitechapel Bell Foundry) cast clock bells for Sir John and added his name to the castings. Sir John would then have installed the finished clocks in large houses, commercial premises etc. The bells and clock jacks on the front of the building were removed in 1929 and reinstalled at the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit in 1931. As a matter of interest the four faces in the photo (taken in May 1891) show the time in New York, St Petersburg, Berlin and Constantinople. (Kent County Association Website, 2013)


  • "A highly satisfactory restoration at Chiddingstone", Corby, Philip A (The Ringing World) 30 August 1991
  • "A great day at Chiddingstone", Corby, Philip A (The Ringing World) 25 October 1991
  • "The Bells of St Mary's, Chiddingstone", Corby, Lucile (The Ringing World and Lovesguide) 1 January 2004
  • The ring of bells

    The tenor bell.
    Photo: Dickon Love, 31 Dec 2004

    View of the belfry.
    Photo: Dickon Love, 31 Dec 2004

    The Corby Bell (Sanctus)



    Recent Peals
    The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
    2017-03-185040 Julie Mcdonnell Bob Major
    2010-11-205184 Oxney Surprise Major
    2008-07-195120 Spliced Surprise Major
    2007-11-175088 Fordcombe Surprise Major
    2007-02-035088 Spliced Surprise Major
    2006-11-065056 Bristol Surprise Major
    2006-02-135152 Spliced Surprise Major (7m)
    2005-04-235152 Imberhorne Surprise Major
    2005-03-195024 Belgrave Surprise Major
    2002-01-195040 Double Norwich Court Bob Major
    2001-05-245088 Bristol Surprise Major
    2001-03-315088 Spliced Surprise Major
    1996-10-195024 Petworth Surprise Major
    1994-03-195040 Grandsire Triples
    1932-08-175088 Double Norwich Court Bob Major
    1902-11-015056 Kent Treble Bob Major
    1897-05-155024 Kent Treble Bob Major
    1895-11-305152 Plain Bob Major
    1894-02-245040 Grandsire Triples
    1843-06-055280 Oxford Treble Bob Major
    1837-06-125040 Grandsire Triples
    1798-08-045040 Grandsire Triples
    1777-07-066720 Plain Bob Major
    Recent Quarter Peals
    The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
    2022-05-281260 Grandsire Triples
    2020-01-181316 Grandsire Triples
    2019-12-271288 Plain Bob Triples
    2019-09-141260 St Simon's Bob Triples
    2018-06-071260 Grandsire Triples
    2018-04-121260 Grandsire Triples
    2018-04-031260 Grandsire Triples
    2018-03-251260 Grandsire Triples
    2017-12-281260 Plain Bob Triples
    2017-12-161260 Middlesex Bob Triples
    2017-12-011260 Grandsire Triples
    2017-03-221260 Grandsire Triples
    2016-10-071287 Grandsire Triples
    2016-09-201287 Grandsire Triples
    2016-09-141260 Grandsire Triples
    2016-04-161280 Cadmium Surprise Major
    2015-11-281260 Single Oxford Bob Triples
    2015-05-251280 Jevington Surprise Major
    2015-04-151260 Plain Bob Triples
    2015-03-191250 Yorkshire Surprise Major
    2015-02-141260 Doubles (2m)
    2014-08-101260 Grandsire Doubles
    2014-07-241280 Cambridge Surprise Major
    2013-12-071344 St Clements College Bob Major
    2013-08-241280 Kent Treble 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: 31 July 2022