Sutton by Dover

Sutton by Dover, Ss Peter & Paul

Photo: Bishop Brian Jones, 9 Sept 2015

  • 1 bell hung for swing chiming with levers and ancient bell on display
  • Tenor: 1-1-24 in C♯.
  • Grid Ref: TR334493
  • Rung from: Ground Floor
  • Frame: Steel arch frame, John Taylor & Co 1983
  • Denomination: Church of England
    Diocese (Anglican): Canterbury
    Archdeaconry (Anglican): Ashford
  • Building Listed Grade: II* Click for Heritage details.

Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
҂ Single bell 1-1-2417½" C♯ 1991 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Never
҈ Preserved 1¾ cwt approx.19½" Late 13th Cent. Unknown Never

҂  - Hung for swing chiming
҈    - Unhung



c 1280 A bell cast by unknown (possibly foreign) founder.
1759 Record of 1 bell in the tower. [1]
1795 Record of 1 bell in the tower. [2]
1800 Record of a small bell. [3]
1887 J C L Stahlschmidt recorded a "Long-waisted bell". He gave the diameter as 23½", erroneously.
1981 The quinquennial inspection of 1980/81 said that the turret was in need of some repair and that the bell was in danger of falling down. The timber headstock is cracked and no longer supports the bell, and the iron stirrups fixing the bell carriage [sic] to this are severely corroded. The oak wheel is badly weathered and I would recommend that the bell be removed to prevent it falling". It seems that the PCC decided to demolish the turret, which was done in October 1981, and the bell was stored at Sutton Court Farm, which is next to the church [4]
1983 Alan Berry from John Taylor & Co wrote to the Rector saying that he had noticed the removal of the turret and enquired about the bell. This enquiry led to Taylors conducting a restoration of the bell, rehanging it in a steel wall-arch frame. Taylor's suggested that the bell be tuned, but this did not receive DAC approval following protracted correspondence. [5] [6]
1991 The local populous did not like the tone of the bell, so a new bell was cast by Taylor's and used the new swing chiming fittings supplied for the old bell on the new one. The old bell was preserved. The new bell was originally photographed with "1-2-14" chalked upon it, but this was presumably the weight before it was tuned. The dispatched weight has since been quoted to be "1-1-24".
[1] This Church has not one Inscription in it. Neither is there, here, any Thing at all remarkable, but, that, The Communion Table stands in the Middle of the Chancel; wch. I have also seen in some other Churches. It consists only of the Chancell and Body – and has no Steeple; but, 1 small Bell hangs at ye West End, in ye Inside; it has no Inscription. (Rev’d Bryan Faussett, 1759)
[2] Sutton has a small Church consisting of one aile, and a chancel, with a circular termination, also here is a square tower, containing one Bell. The Church is kept very clean and decent, but does not contain any Memorials. (Zechariah Cozens, 1795)
[3] The church, which is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, is but small, part of it having fallen down by an earthquake, on April 6, 1680. The present church consists of a nave and chancel, without any steeple. There is one small bell. ('The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent. Vol 9', Edward Hasted)
[4] Faculty for "Removal of the bell tower and interior decoration". (Kent History and Library Centre, DCb/E/F/Sutton by Dover, SS Peter and Paul/6, 1981)
[5] Alan Berry from John Taylor & Co wrote to the rector of Sutton saying that he'd chanced to pass Sutton church recently and noted that the turret had been removed. He said that he'd looked around the church for the bell but couldn't find it and enquired about its fate. He finishes his letter: "I should not think there would be a great amount of work in restoring the bell, so I am not really looking at it from the point of view of a possible job, but I do like to keeps tabs on Kentish bells if I can in order to keep my records up to date." The reverend gentleman obviously decided that restoration was a good idea (don't have his letter to Taylors) and Alan Berry wrote back in February 1983 with a quote. He says, "In view of the age of the bell, it is suggested that [the canons] be retained and an appropriate canon-retaining bar headstock be fitted. There is little doubt that an improvement in the tonal quality of the bell could be made by careful treatment under the tuning machine." On 26 July 1983 Alan wrote to the PCC saying, among other things, "I . . . note that the Bell Consultant is not happy that the bell should be tuned." The final letter from Alan in September 1983 includes the following: "After we had received the bell and examined it, it was obvious that there would be little or no improvement from tuning." He goes on to mention the 26 July letter. (Notes by Frank W Lewis from the BRF file of Peter F Romney)
[6] Faculty for "Electrical work and repair and reerection of the bell". (Kent History and Library Centre, DCb/E/F/Sutton by Dover, SS Peter and Paul/7, 1981)


  • "Ancient Kent bell under restoration", Cawley, David L (The Ringing World) 4 November 1983
  • Gallery

    The church in 1853 showing the original brick gable with the old bell hanging in it.

    The new bell hanging in its new frame.
    Photo: David Cawley

    The ancient bell on display in the church.
    Photo: Bishop Brian Jones, 9 Sept 2015

    Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent Page updated: 20 June 2021