Bishopsbourne, St Mary

Photo: Richard Offen, 2005

  • 4 bells hung dead and chimed with Ellacombe hammers
  • Tenor: 6½ cwt approx in B♭.
  • Grid Ref: TR187527
  • Rung from: Upstairs Ringing Room
  • Frame: 16th Cent, adapted to allow full circle ringing in the 17th Cent.
  • Denomination: Church of England
    Diocese (Anglican): Canterbury
    Archdeaconry (Anglican): Canterbury
  • Building Listed Grade: I Click for Heritage details.

Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
1 2-2-022¾" G 1597 Robert Mot, Whitechapel 1975 Whitechapel
2 3¼ cwt approx25¾" D 1685 Christopher Hodson, Whitechapel Never
3 5 cwt approx.30¼" C 1618 Joseph Hatch, Ulcombe, Kent Never
4 6½ cwt approx33¾" B♭ 1618 Joseph Hatch, Ulcombe, Kent Never

 - Hung dead


Prior to 1974

Bell DiameterNoteDateFounderRetunedFate
2nd of 427⅞"C1618Joseph HatchNeverBroken up in tower 1975. Really was that pitch!


c 1400 Tower built.
c 1500 Frame four 4 bells put up; it survives to-day and is made for bells the size of the pre-1974 four, and disproportionately small for the size of the tower.
1597 Bell cast by Robert Mot for St Mary Bredman, Canterbury.
1618 At least the back three bells were recast by Joseph Hatch; curiously the 2nd and 3rd appeared to be of similar tone (though this may have been exacerbated by the 2nd later becoming cracked).
c 1650 During the 17th century, the four bell frame was adapted for full circle ringing.
1685 The then treble (present 2nd) was recast by Christopher Hodson, and the bells hung in ringing fittings with huge wheels which survived till 1974.
1757 Record of 4 bells. [1]
1887 The bells were still being "sometimes rung". Subsequently the 2nd became cracked. By 1960 only one was being "clocked".
1900 St Mary Breadman, Canterbury, was demolished and the bell transferred to the West Gate.
1974 The cracked 2nd which had the same note as the third was broken up in the tower as it was far too large to fit through the trap door . It was sold for scrap and 1,3 and 4 were rehung dead in the old frame by Whitechapel without leaving the tower.
1975 The ex-St Mary Breadman bell was acquired from Canterbury's West Gate and was tuned at Whitechapel and hung for chiming at Bishopsbourne to make bells 1,4,5,6 of six. A 6-bell chiming manual was provided. The new treble was manhandled up the stair turret!
[1] "This Church consists of a Chancell, S. Chancell (or Pew for ye Beckingham Family). A North Ditto, now a Vestrey; The Body; and 2 Side Isles. The Steeple, which is a Tower, cap’t with a Low Wooden Spire, is at the West End. In it hang 4 Bells, inscribed as follows: 1. Christopher Hodson, made Me. 1605. 2. Joseph Hatch, fecit Me. T.C. - C.W. 1618. 3. Joseph Hatch, fecit Me. T.C. - C.W. 1618. 4. Josephus Hatch, Me fecit. T.C. - C.W. 1618." (Rev’d Bryan Faussett, 1757)

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