Canterbury, All Saints (Old Church)

  • Church demolished (formerly 3 bells)
  • Formerly ring of 3. 1 bell to Bexleyheath Clock Tower, 2 bells sold, clock bell to Canterbury (St Alphege).
  • Grid Ref: TR148579

Original bells in tower

Bell Weight
(most recent)
A bell (of 3)1627Joseph HatchNeverSold 1768
A bell (of 3)1627Joseph HatchNeverSold 1768
A bell (of 3)4½ cwt approx.30"1627Joseph HatchNeverTransferred to Bexleyheath Clock Tower in 1911
Clock bell2½ cwt approx.23"18th CentUnknownNeverTransferred to St Alphege, Canterbury 1894


c 1200 The first church was built with a nave, chancel, north aisle and south porch with a tower over it.
1552 Record of 3 bells.
1627 The bells were recast by Joseph Hatch.
1758 The 3 small Hatch bells were observed by Mr Faussett: "all cast by Joseph Hatch 1627; over these hangs in an open turret a small bell on wch. the clock strikes without inscription". [1]
1768 The mediaeval tower, which impinged on the street and whose clock was suspended half-way across passing right to the other side, was demolished. Kentish Gazzette announced on 27 Aug that the first steeple "with all timber and materials thereto belonging except bells and clock, which will be required to be taken down with all speed" was sold to Abraham Rye for £1.6s.0d. [2]
1769 A domed cupola was erected on the west end of the old nave; 2 of the bells were sold.
1828 The church was pulled down and a new church built on the same site. This had a nave, chancel, south aisle and tower at the west end of the aisle set back from the High Street frontage.
1832 The tower on the new church was completed by Thomas Rickman.
1894 The 18th century clock bell was transferred to St Alphege, Canterbury and hung as the treble of the ring of 6 by S.B.Goslin. The Hatch bell at some point became the clock bell in Bexleyheath Clock Tower.
1903 Church closed for worship.
1911 During alterations on the church the 1627 bell was removed. Mr E Barnett of Crayford rescued the bell which was on the groud, Funds were raised by parading it through the streets & it was hung in the new Bexleyheath Clocktower by S.B. Goslin.
1938 October The Victorian Church was pulled down, although the churchyard is preserved.
[1] "This Church consists of the Chancell and Body (wch. are both in One, without any Distinction) and an Isle toward the North. The *Steeple is on the South Side, in it are 3 Small Bells – all cast by Joseph HATCH 1627. Over these hangs a Small Bell, in a kind of open Turret, on which the Clock strikes, without Inscription. The Dial of the Clock is fix’d to a Beam, which reaches cross the Street, from ye Church to East Bridge Hospital. *The Steeple was pull’d down A.D. 1769 in Order to ye Widening of the King’s Bridge." (Rev’d Bryan Faussett, 1758)
[2] To be Sold by AUCTION, the King's Head Inn, High-street, in the City of Canterbury, Friday next, the September, at Two o'Clock in the Afternoon, THE TOWER of the Church of All Saints, in the said City, with all the Timber and Materials thereto belonging (except the Bells, Lead, and Clock), which be required to be taken down with all Speed according to Conditions of Sale to be then produced. (Kentish Gazette, Sat 27 Aug 1768)


The old church is seen in this engraving standing on the High Street. Beyond it is the King's Bridge (the one from which the Old Witches' Ducking Stool can be seen). The clock stretched right across the street. The tower was demolished in 1768 to make way
Photo: David Cawley collection

The site of the old church in 2020.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 11 Sept 2020

Plaque in the pavement on the High Street.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 11 Sept 2020

Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent Page updated: 25 September 2020