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Chatham
 

Chatham, St Mary the Virgin (The Victoria Tower)


Photo: Dickon Love, Nov 2002

  • No bells, formerly ring of 8, tenor 25-0-21
  • Formerly ring of 8, tenor 25-0-21, transferred to Gorran, Cornwall.
  • Grid Ref: TQ757684
  • Former ring of 8, transferred to Goran, Cornwall, in 2014
  • Rung from: Upstairs in Detached Tower
  • Frame: 1897 John Warner & Sons
  • Denomination: Church of England
    Diocese (Anglican): Rochester
  • Peals rung at the tower

How the bells are tuned

Prior to 2004

Bell Weight
(most recent)
DiameterNoteDateFounderRetunedFate
Clock4-2-028½"F1651William HatchNever while at ChathamStorage from Mar 2004 after stealing. Weight from scrap firm who recovered it.

Prior to 1897

Bell DiameterDateFounderRetunedFate
Larger bell38"1812John Warner & SonsNeverRecast as the treble 1897.

Prior to 2013

Bell Weight
(most recent)
DiameterNoteDateFounderRetunedFate
Treble (of 8)7-0-1033.25"D♯1897John Warner & SonsNever while at ChathamTransferred to Goran, 2014
2 (of 8)Jane7-0-1932"C*1897John Warner & SonsNever while at ChathamTransferred to Goran, 2014
3 (of 8)Charles Bessent7-3-2534.25"B♯1897John Warner & SonsNever while at ChathamTransferred to Goran, 2014
4 (of 8)Harold10-1-637"A♯1897John Warner & SonsNever while at ChathamTransferred to Goran, 2014
5 (of 8)Mary12-2-2441"G♯1897John Warner & SonsNever while at ChathamTransferred to Goran, 2014
6 (of 8)Charles14-3-2443"F*1897John Warner & SonsNever while at ChathamTransferred to Goran, 2014
7 (of 8)Nellie18-3-2747"E♯1897John Warner & SonsNever while at ChathamTransferred to Goran, 2014
Tenor (of 8)Victoria25-0-2152"D♯1897John Warner & SonsNever while at ChathamTransferred to Goran, 2014

History

1241 There was a dispute over the use of the Chantry Chapel at the time when Richard, Bishop of Rochester and Leeds Priory were Rectors of St Mary's.
1651 Clock bell cast by William Hatch.
1726 A faculty was sought for the sale of a cracked bell, the proceeds of which were to go towards the repair of the church. [1]
1788 Church built.
1812 Bell cast by Thomas Mears II.
1884 Chancel added.
1895 The bells, which had been out of good order for a while, were overhauled by S B Goslin, who strengthened the frame and rehung the tenor. [4]
1897 "Victoria Tower" built and ring of 8 cast. The metal from the larger of the two bells (1812) was added to the pot and remembered on the new treble inscription.
1898 The Victoria Ring was dedicated on 2 Feb.
1920 Bells rehung by Alfred Bowell with steel headstocks.
1974 Church made redundant.
c 2004 The William Hatch bell, which was stored in the church on a ledge over the staircase entrance to the former tower, was stolen on 28 Feb.
2010 The Hatch bell was hung as the treble of a ring of five at Eakring, Notts.
2013 The church had been unused for several years and there were concerns about vandalism. Electricity had been cut off in the tower and there was local concern about the ongoing maintenance of the bells. In a hurried attempt to escape ongoing responsibility for the bells, they were removed from the tower in November and transferred to St Goran in Cornwall into a 2 tier frame.
[1] Permission to sell cracked bell: copy of vestry minutes 16 July 1724, affidavit and extract from faculty book 1 July 1726, bond on grant of faculty 5 July 1726 (National Archives DRb/A/f/4, 1726)
[4] The Bells of Chislehurst, Kent. The bells of Chislehurst Parish Church, which have been rather celebrated for some years, and have often afforded pleasure to ringers when out for a day's enjoyment on the Common, but which have been out of good ringing order for some time past, have been overhauled, the tenor bell rehung, and the frame strengthened by Mr. S. B. Goslin, and the bells are now in good 'go', having been well tried in two and three hour pulls with considerable satisfaction. (Church Bells, 13 Sept 1895)

Articles

  • "A hundred years of 'Victoria' at Chatham", Cawley, David L (The Ringing World) 6 February 1998
  • Gallery


    The belfry in 2012.
    Photo: Dickon Love, Nov 2012

    The belfry.
    Photo: Dickon Love, Nov 2012

    The belfry.
    Photo: Dickon Love, Nov 2012

    The ringing room in 2012.
    Photo: Dickon Love, Nov 2012

    The church in 2012.
    Photo: Dickon Love, Nov 2012

    The tenor at Taylors after removal from the church (photo Simon Adams).
    Photo: Simon Adams, 2013

    This is an unusual photographs of the church shortly after the Victoria Tower was built, but before the old tower was demolished.
    Photo: David Cawley collection

    The ring of eight bells on display prior to hanging in the church.
    Photo: David Cawley collection

    The small William Hatch bell on display in the church above the entrance to the spiral staircase that was the entrance to the former tower. This bell was stolen in 2004 but recovered a few weeks later and went into the care of the Kent CACR and then went
    Photo: Dickon Love

    An engraving of the tenor bell.
    Photo:


    Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent Page updated: 19 April 2020