Reculver, St Mary

  • Church in ruins, formerly 4 bells
  • Formerly ring of 4 bells, 14 cwt approx. 2 bells scrapped, others transferred to Badlesmere and Hilborough.
  • Grid Ref: TR227692
  • Rung from: Don't know / not applicable
  • Frame: Former frame: c.1600 for 4 bells
  • Denomination: Church of England
    Diocese (Anglican): Canterbury
    Archdeaconry (Anglican): Canterbury

Prior to 1810

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Treble (of 4)7-1-1633½"B♭1635Joseph HatchNeverTransferred to Badlesmere 1810.
2nd (of 4)8 cwt approx.36"A1635Joseph HatchNeverTransferred to Hilborough 1810, stolen 1969
3rd (of 4)10 cwt approx.c.40"G1635Joseph HatchNeverSold
Tenor (of 4)14 cwt approx.c.44"F1635Joseph HatchNeverSold


669 A small Benedictine monastery was built by Basse (a "masse priest") on land given to St Augustine's Abbey by King Egbert. It was previously a 3rd century Roman Fort.
1350 In 14th Century, the towers and spires were built.
1635 A new ring of 4 bells was cast by Joseph Hatch.
1758 Record of 4 bells in the tower. [1]
1802 The sea was recorded as encroaching dangerously close to the church.
1809 The church was demolished. The twin towers were saved by Trinity House who maintained them as a sea-mark, although the spires were subsequently removed.
1810 A new church was built at Hilborough with a tower and the second from Reculver was placed in it. The treble was transferred to Badlesmere.
1876 The church at Hilborough was rebuilt without a tower. The bell was hung in the gable end.
1930 The towers passed to the Ministry of Works. Subsequently they went to English Heritage.
1955 Around this time, the bell at Hilborough was rehung for stationary chiming by Mears & Stainbank.
1969 In April the Hatch bell at Hilborough was stolen during a particularly daring raid and replaced with a ship's bell, then a steel bell.
1988 The remaining Hatch bell at Badlesmere was restored with new fittings for swing chiming and crown staple removed (by Whitechapel and KCACR).
[1] This Church consists of The Chancell, Body, and 2 Side Isles. At The West End of The Body, stand Two very beautyfull tall Spires. These are a famous Sea Mark. In that towards ye North, hang 4 Bells, all made by Joseph HATCH in the Year 1635. (Rev’d Bryan Faussett, 1758)


View of church in 1799.
Photo: David Cawley collection

View in c.1915.
Photo: David Cawley collection

Photo: David Cawley collection

Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent Page updated: 2 April 2020