Deptford, St Nicholas

Photo: Dickon Love, Jun 2005

  • 2 bells hung without wheels and clocked, formerly ring of 8
  • Tenor: 19¼ cwt approx. in E♭.
  • Formerly ring of 8, 20-1-2. 6 bells sold, 2 derelict in frame.
  • Grid Ref: TQ373777
  • The second oldest ring of 8 which we know were cast in 1701.
  • Rung from: Open Gallery
  • Frame: 1904 John Warner & Sons in 2 tiers with 3 bells above the other 5
  • Denomination: Church of England
    Diocese (Anglican): Southwark
  • Peals rung at the tower

Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
1 5 cwt approx.30" E♭ 1701 Newton & Hadley Never
2 19¼ cwt approx.49" E♭ 1842 Thomas Mears II, Whitechapel Never

 - Hung dead


The original ring of 8 bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Treble5 cwt approx.30"E♭1701Newton & HadleyNeverStill in the tower
2nd5-2-2730½"D1701Newton & HadleyNeverScrapped 1956
3rd6-1-1032½"C1701Newton & HadleyNeverScrapped 1956
4th8-1-1936½"B♭1701Newton & HadleyNeverScrapped 1956
5th9-3-1439"A♭1702Newton & HadleyNeverScrapped 1956
6th13-0-1041½"G1701Newton & HadleyNeverScrapped 1956
7th14-3-344¾"F1701Newton & HadleyNeverScrapped 1956
Tenor20-1-14E♭1701Newton & HadleyNeverRecast 1780

Subsequently recast bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Tenor20-0-11E♭1780Pack & ChapmanNeverRecast 1842


c 1120 Church built.
1552 Record of 5 bells.
1697 Significant rebuilding of the church.
1701 Ring of 8 bells cast (although the 5th was dated 1702).
1714 Significant rebuilding of the church.
1780 Tenor recast.
1842 Tenor recast by Thomas Mears, weighing 20-1-2.
1904 Top stage of the tower rebuilt. Canons removed and bells rehung in a new 2-tier cast iron frame. The tower was reopened and bells rededicated by the Bishop of Rochester on 11th November.
1911 21st Sept. Church reopened after restoration.
1939 Last peal on the bells and bells last rung. In May, John Taylor quoted for a new frame and fittings. ("From the manner in which the frame moves we would not come to rehang the bells upon it.")
1940 October The church was badly damaged from incendiary bombs. The bells were removed from the tower and put into storage.
1951 May Mears & Stainbank quoted for removing the bells.
1955 In July, Mears & Stainbank quoted for rehanging the bells with partly new fittings to make them ringable. In October, Mears & Stainbank reported: "5th cracked, possibly also 4th, bells dirty. Frame & majority of fittings sound & in excellent condition but bells are too high in the tower & too heavy." They quoted for new 8 in A, Ab or G or existing, rehanging lower in tower with new f&f. In November Mears & Stainbank quoted for removing the middle six bells including a plea that they might reconsider even keeping 6 bells for ringing which would attract ringers. All of this fell on deaf ears!
1956 Bells removed from the tower and sold for scrap to help pay for the restoration of the church (apart from the treble and tenor which were rehung without their wheels in the lower frame with their clappers adapted for clocking).
1958 Church restored.
2000 Church awarded a considerable sum to restore the tower. At the Rector's request, Dickon Love acquired the 6 bells from Homerton with a loan from the Kent County Association with a view to augmenting them and hanging them in the tower, thus restoring the ring of 8. However the Rector then retired and his successor showed no interest in continuing with this project. The ex-Homerton bells were subsequently offered to Stone-by-Dartford where they now hang.


Photo: David Cawley

The tower in a bad way a few years before its partial collapse and rebuilding. This photograph was taken in 1895.
Photo: David Cawley collection

The tenor sitting in its pit in the old frame for 8 bells, without a wheel.
Photo: Dickon Love, Jun 2005

The treble is the only other bell in the tower.
Photo: Dickon Love, Jun 2005

The upper tier of the frame.
Photo: Dickon Love, Jun 2005

The lower tier, in which the remaining two bells hang.
Photo: Dickon Love, Jun 2005

The two ropes which allow the two bells to be sounded. Also a better view of the door on to the ringing gallery.
Photo: Dickon Love, Jun 2005

A view of the base of the tower. There used to be a ringing gallery here and you can see where the door used to open up to allow access (on the right).
Photo: Dickon Love, Jun 2005

A memorial on the wall of the church showing money donated for the casting of the bells.
Photo: Dickon Love, Jun 2005
Recent Peals
The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
1928-03-315056 Cambridge Surprise Major
1926-01-305056 Cambridge Surprise Major
1925-03-145024 London Surprise Major
1923-05-015056 Cambridge Surprise Major
1913-12-015040 Stedman Triples
1913-03-155040 Stedman Triples
1906-11-035120 London Surprise Major
1906-07-145088 Superlative Surprise Major
1905-10-215040 Grandsire Triples
1905-09-305056 London Surprise Major
1904-12-065040 Grandsire Triples
1847-03-085024 Kent Treble Bob Major
1785-01-165088 Oxford Treble Bob Major
1781-06-115040 Grandsire Triples
1780-05-175040 Plain Bob Major
Full list of peals on Bellboard here
Full list of quarters on Bellboard here

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