Hythe, St Leonard

Photo: Brian Butcher

Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)

(As supplied 1914)
Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
® Treble 4-3-1927" G 1992 Whitechapel Bell Foundry Flat Never
® 2 5-0-1728" F 1992 Whitechapel Bell Foundry Flat Never
® 3 5-1-2329½" E♭ 1928 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Flat Never
® 4 6-1-230½" D 1928 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Flat Never
® 5 6-3-932¼" C 1928 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Flat Never
® 6 7-2-1934½" B♭ 1928 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Flat Never
® 7 8-3-837½" A♭ 1928 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Flat Never
® 8 9-1-219-2-2239¾" G 1914 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Removed 1928 Mears & Stainbank
® 9 13-1-2443½" F 1934 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Flat Never
® Tenor 19-3-348½" E♭ 1992 Whitechapel Bell Foundry Flat Never

®  - Hung for full circle ringing


Frame Bells Year Maker Material Truss(es) Local
Lower tier 1 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 1928 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel

Upper tier 2 1,2 1992 Local


The Ring of 10 in 1861

Bell Weight
(most recent)

(Cast weight)
Treble (of 10)3-3-2428"1861George Mears & Co.NeverScrapped 1891
2 (of 10)4-3-729"1861George Mears & Co.NeverScrapped 1891
3 (of 10)6-3-186-3-830"1802Thomas Mears INeverPre-retuned weight is the cast weight.Recast in 1928
4 (of 10)6-0-266-0-2530½"1802Thomas Mears INeverPre-retuned weight is the cast weight. Recast in 1928
5 (of 10)6-2-166-2-1532"1802Thomas Mears INeverPre-retuned weight is the cast weight. Maiden bell. Recast in 1928
6 (of 10)7-2-127-2-1034½"1802Thomas Mears INeverPre-retuned weight is the cast weight. Recast in 1928
7 (of 10)9-0-09-0-837"1802Thomas Mears INeverPre-retuned weight is the cast weight. Recast in 1928
8 (of 10)11-1-2112-0-2741"1802Thomas Mears INeverPre-retuned weight is the cast weight. Recast in 1914. Recorded in 1802 as 12-0-24
9 (of 10)13-3-413-3-943"1802Thomas Mears INeverWeight is the cast weight. Was Maiden bell. Recast in 1891.
Tenor (of 10)18-2-018-2-848½"1802Thomas Mears INeverPre-retuned weight is the cast weight. Was Maiden bell. Recast in 1891.

Recast in 1891

Bell Weight
(most recent)

(Measured 1928)

(On 1891 plaque in the tower)
7 (of 8)13-3-2413-3-1214-1-41891Mears & StainbankNeverRecast 1934. (Recorded in 1891 as 13-3-12)
Tenor (of 8)19-0-919-3-231891Mears & StainbankNeverRecast 1992

Prior to 1752

Bell DateFounderRetunedFate
Treble (of 6)1752Thomas PackNeverSmashed 1750. Recast 1752.
2nd (of 6)1720John WaylettNeverRecast 1802
3rd (of 6)1720John WaylettNeverRecast 1802
4th (of 6)1720John WaylettNeverRecast 1802
5th (of 6)1720John WaylettNeverRecast 1802
Tenor (of 6)1720John WaylettNeverRecast 1802

Prior to 1720

Bell DateFounderRetunedFate
Treble (of 6)1720John WaylettNeverSmashed 1750. Recast 1752


1413 Churchwardens accounts mentions "materials for greasing the bells 5½d.
1481 An entry from the Historical Manuscripts Commission gives details of a major overhaul including replacing the frame and repairs to the 4th and the Great Bell. There were therefore at least 5 bells in the tower.
1580 6th Mar The tower was shaken by an earthquake "so violent that the bells sounded."
1697 Thomas Raylton was paid £12 10s "for 12 brasses" indicating that there were at least 6 bells in the tower at the time.
1703 John Walker was paid "£12-15s-00d for 2 bells". These were possibly for 2 new bells making up the ring to 8, but more likely to have been for a recast of 2 of the existing bells, or for service/sanctus bells.
1720 6 bells were recast by John Waylett. If there were 8 bells in the tower, it could be that the back 6 were recast to match the old bells to the new.
1739 24th Apr The tower fell down. It was reported that 6 bells and some broken bells were dug from the ruins. This lends evidence to the fact that there were more than 6 bells in the tower, although some may have been service/sanctus bells. [1]
1750 The tower was rebuilt and 6 bells hung in it.
1752 Tower rebuilt and treble (of 6) recast by Robert Pack.
1757 Record of 6 bells in the tower. [2]
1799 Record of 6 bells in the tower. [3]
1802 Bells recast into a (confirmed) ring of 8 by Thomas Mears I.
1861 2 trebles added by Thomas Mears II to make 10. They were bought by John Friend from George Mears using George Stockham as an agent. The money was never settled and there was a court case Stockham v. Friend (1862) to recover the value of these two bells. The judge ruled that the dispute should be harmonised between the parties. Friend also wanted to recast the tenor which was described as "recusant", although this did not happen. The new ring of 10 opened on 6th July. They were never very successful. The tuning of the octave was probably very stretched (as is the case at the similar but extant octave at Borden) so that when the trebles were added, they blatantly did not fit. The trebles were never pealed and soon fell into disuse.
1891 Back 2 bells recast by Mears & Stainbank (including the "recusant tenor"). The 2 trebles were scrapped and the remaining 8 bells rehung.
1893 Severe cracks were discovered in the tower so the bells were not rung.
1901 New clock provided, paid by public subscription in memory of Queen Victoria.
1914 6th recast by Mears & Stainbank. This was "The Curfew Bell".
1925 A report to the PCC recorded that "the bells and organ are in urgent need of repair."
1928 Front 5 (of 8) recast by Mears & Stainbank and hung in a new frame. This was paid for by Lord Wakefield.
1929 Clock hammer was repaired.
1934 The 7th cracked during the ringing for a wedding. It was recast by Mears & Stainbank.
1979 KCACR did some work on a loose gudgeon on the 4th.
1991 The tenor was found to be cracked in the crown.
1992 Tenor recast, and 2 trebles added to make 10 by Whitechapel. They were cast in October. The first service ringing was Christmas Day. The fittings for these bells came from the old trebles of ten at Llandaff. York got the fittings of the back 8.
[1] From "Hythe" published for the Corporation and Chamber of Commerce by The Health Resorts Association, 1923: "The original tower fell down in 1739. A party of visitors wished to ascend it for a view. Fortunately for them, the sexton took some time to get the key, and while they were waiting, and no doubt grumbling at the delay, the tower suddenly fell with a crash; no life was lost. The present tower was erected in 1750, and though but a poor imitation of Gothic in its details, it looks well at a distance. It contains a ring of eight bells, the largest weighing just a ton … The curfew bell is still rung every night at eight o'clock." (Corporation and Chamber of Commerce, 1923)
[2] "The Tower fell down a few Years ago; but it is now rebuilt. It stands at the West End. In it hang 6 very Musical Bells. The First, or smallest of them, having been broke by ye Fall of The Tower, was recast by Robert Pack of London in 1752. The Year the new Tower was finish’t. The Other 5 were all founded by John Waylett in ye Year 1720. The Old Steeple (Kilburn informs us) was greatly damaged in ye Year 1580, by an Earthquake, which was so violent as to ring ye Bells in it. It is said, there were formerly 4 other Parish Churches, or Chapels, in Hythe; which were dedicated to St. Bernard, St. Nicholas, St Michael, and St. Mary." (Rev’d Bryan Faussett, 1757)
[3] The church, which is dedicated to St. Leonard, is a fine handsome building, consisting of three isles, a north and south cross, and three chancels, with a tower steeple at the west end, in which are six bells and a clock. ('The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent. Vol 8', Edward Hasted)


  • "Hythe, Kent", Author unknown (The Ringing World) 29 September 1978
  • "Centenary Celebrations at St Leonard's, Hythe", Butcher, Brian G (The Ringing World) 3 January 1992
  • Gallery

    The former 1891 tenor being taken out of the tower, destined to be recast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.
    Photo: Christopher J Cooper, 1992

    Photo: Christopher J Cooper, 1992

    Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent Page updated: 29 May 2023