Deptford, St Paul

Photo: Andrew Wood (London Churches in Photographs) londonchurchbuildings.com

  • 3 bell clock chime
  • Tenor: 11½ cwt approx. in A♭
  • Grid Ref: TQ372774
  • Denomination: Church of England
  • Diocese (Anglican): Southwark
  • Building Listed Grade: I Click for Heritage details.

  • Details of the Bells

    Bell Weight
    (most recent) *
    Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
    Q1 4½ cwt approx. 27½" F♯ 1823 Thomas Mears II Removed Never
    Q2 6-3-19 32¾" C 1908 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Removed Never
    Hour Bell 11½ cwt approx. 44½" A♭ 1772 Pack & Chapman, Whitechapel Conventional Never

    * Source of weight figures: WBF

    ꓕ- Hung dead

    Bellframes

    Position Frame Bells Year Maker Material Truss(es) Local
    Layout
    Lower twin tier 1 Empty c.1823 Oak 4.6
    Upper twin tier 2 Q1, Q2 19th Cent Oak 2
    Cupola 3 Hour 1772 Oak 1
    Inscriptions on the Bells

    Earlier bells

    Bell Weight
    (most recent)
    Diameter Note Date Founder Retuned Fate
    2nd 6-3-4 33½" 1825 Thomas Mears II Never Recast 1908
    Hemispherical 3-2-6 30" E 1888 Mears & Stainbank Never To Mrs Le Grix White 24/4/1889. Fate unknown.
    History

    1712 Building commenced on the church. The architect was Thomas Archer and it was built in the baroque style.
    1730 The church was consecrated on 30 June 1730 and the parish was created from that of St Nicholas Deptford.
    1772 The hour bell was cast by Pack & Chapman and hung for swing chiming with a lever in a frame in the cupola.
    1822 The headstock was replaced on the hour bell. It was inscribed "W. HATFULL MAY 14 1822"
    1823 A bell forming the 1st quarter bell was cast by Thomas Mears II.
    1825 A bell forming the 2nd quarter bell was cast by Thomas Mears II. It isn't clear if this was a recast, or whether the two quarter bells were cast in different years and then either hung at the same time, or in the years that they were cast. Either way, the two quarter bells were hung in 2 pits of an oak frame for 4 bells. Bearing holes appear in the two pits suggesting that the bells were destined to be hung for swinging or full circle ringing. The absence of grease staining suggests that these bearings were never in fact fitted, although the Whitechapel Day Book in 1908 refers to rehanging the 2nd bell for ringing. At some point after, a second tier was added to the frame with 2 more pits, One wonders if the long term intention was to put in a ring of 6 bells.
    1889 Whitechapel records that a hemispherical bell was supplied to Mrs Le Grix White at this church. The existance of this bell is unknown. [1]
    1908 The 2nd quarter bell became cracked and was recast by Mears & Stainbank. At some point the two quarter bells were hung in the 2 pits in the upper tier of the frame. The canons were also removed from these 2 bells, perhaps at this point too. [2] [3]
    2006 The Whitechapel Bell Foundry reported on the state of the belfry and advised on restoration. It appears nothing was acted upon.
    2023 Another report was prepared by Bill Hibbert, DAC Advisor.

    [1] A hemispherical bell 30ins 3-2-6 in E to Mrs Le Grix White 24 April 1889' ('Whitechapel records (per Nick Davies, Aug.2004))
    [2] APPEAL TO THE PEOPLE OF DEPTFORD. SIR,- Will you allow us again to call attention to the fact that the second bell on which the clock of St. Paul's Parish Church, Deptford, chimes, has, on account of continuous wear, become cracked, and that it is necessary to have it re-cast. An estimate of the cost has been obtained from Messrs. Mears and and [sic] Co., and the amount is approximately £40. The bell weighs 7cwt., and, according to particulars in the vestry of the church, was hung there in the year 1825. Endeavours have been made to remedy the defect to save the cost of re-casting, but without success. As it is the town clock which gives the recognised official time to this part of Deptford it is hoped that donations to meet the expense will be forthcoming. SUms to any amount will be received by the manager of the Broadway branch of the London and County Bank.- We are, Sir, &c,. GERALD HARCOURT, M.A., Rector, H.J. WESTON W. ASHTON Churchwardens. H. DAVEY, Hon. Vestry Clerk.' ('Kentish Mercury, Fri 23 Oct 1908)
    [3] SIR,- One wonders if those gentlement who appeal for new bells - or the renovation of old ones - know what it is to live in a district made hideous by continous clamour. Not far from St. Paul's, Deptford, is a church round which has spread a colony of crowded dwellings. In these poor homes quiet is almost an unknown quantity. When the ordinary and extraordinary noises of the day subside, "practice" commences on the bells. Occasionally Saturday afternoon is pressed into service, and not very long ago these bells were rung from three p.m. till nine. The next issue of your paper sated that the number of "changes" accomplished, but said nothing of remarks exchanged by dwellers in the district. Of course, Sunday is a sort of field-day. Although echoes of Saturday night's entertainments (!) frequently linger till two on Sunday morning, a deep-sounding bell clangs out about eight. At ten or a little after, the whole contingent are set ringing until the vicar's arrival. Tea-time brings another extended effort. For the hawkers whose cries fill the intervals some excuse may be offered - if the shouting of "Milk-o" at six in the morning be excluded from excuse of any description. Anyway, it seems odd that Christian people should assist or acquiesce in making Sunday the noisiest day in the week. I think an effective remedy might be found in compelling the preparation of sermons in church belfries during "practice" time. The result might be a tendency to dispense with these noisy calls to piety, and increased consideration for those who are, frequently, too poor to protest. - I am, Sir., &c,. QUIETUDE' ('Kentish Mercury, Fri 23 Oct 1908)
    Photos from belfry


    Inscription on the headstock of the hour bell.
    Photo: Bill Hibbert 29 Jul 2023

    Inscription on the headstock of the hour bell.
    Photo: Bill Hibbert 29 Jul 2023

    Inscription on the headstock of the hour bell.
    Photo: Bill Hibbert 29 Jul 2023

    Inscription on the headstock of the hour bell.
    Photo: Bill Hibbert 29 Jul 2023

    The second quarter bell.
    Photo: Bill Hibbert 29 Jul 2023

    The second quarter bell.
    Photo: Bill Hibbert 29 Jul 2023

    The second quarter bell.
    Photo: Bill Hibbert 29 Jul 2023

    The lower tier of the twin tier frame.
    Photo: Bill Hibbert 29 Jul 2023

    The lower tier of the twin tier frame.
    Photo: Bill Hibbert 29 Jul 2023

    Page updated: 2 August 2023