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Chislehurst
 

Chislehurst, St Nicholas


Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 Apr 2022

  • 8 bells hung for full circle ringing
  • Tenor: 15-2-19 in E.
  • Grid Ref: TQ444699
  • Warner's earliest surviving complete ring of more than 3 bells.
  • Rung from: Ground Floor
  • Frame: 1937 Mears & Stainbank, metal
  • Denomination: Church of England
    Diocese (Anglican): Rochester
  • Kent County Association of Change Ringers District: Lewisham
  • Building Listed Grade: II* Click for Heritage details.
  • Peals rung at the tower

Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)*

(Supplied weight (FE Robinson))

(After canon removal (WBF records))
Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
® Treble 5-0-95-2-205-1-1628¾" E 1858 John Warner & Sons Removed 1937 Mears & Stainbank
® 2 5-2-186-0-265-3-2030¾" D♯ 1858 John Warner & Sons Removed 1937 Mears & Stainbank
® 3 6-1-116-3-216-2-1432" C♯ 1858 John Warner & Sons Removed 1937 Mears & Stainbank
® 4 6-3-87-1-186-3-2334" B 1858 John Warner & Sons Removed 1937 Mears & Stainbank
® 5 8-1-249-1-108-3-1136½" A 1858 John Warner & Sons Removed 1937 Mears & Stainbank
® 6 9-0-1310-0-79-2-737¾" G♯ 1858 John Warner & Sons Removed 1937 Mears & Stainbank
® 7 10-3-1511-2-1610-3-2440¾" F♯ 1858 John Warner & Sons Removed 1937 Mears & Stainbank
® Tenor 15-2-1917-2-216-1-2145¾" E 1858 John Warner & Sons Removed 1937 Mears & Stainbank

* Source of weight figures: WBF records
®  - Hung for full circle ringing

Bellframes

Frame Bells Year Maker Material Truss(es) Local
Layout
1 All bells 1937 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Cast iron
8.3.A.h
8

Inscriptions

How the bells are tuned

Ring of Six destroyed in 1857

Bell Weight
(most recent)
DiameterDateFounderRetunedFate
Treble5-2-1229½"1830Thomas Mears IINeverDestroyed by fire in 1857
2nd6-2-2331½"1830Thomas Mears IINeverDestroyed by fire in 1857
3rd7-1-033½"1830Thomas Mears IINeverDestroyed by fire in 1857
4th8-0-934½"1830Thomas Mears IINeverDestroyed by fire in 1857
5th10-0-1838"1830Thomas Mears IINeverDestroyed by fire in 1857
Tenor13-2-042"1830Thomas Mears IINeverDestroyed by fire in 1857

Lent in 1957

Bell Weight
(most recent)
DiameterDateFounderRetunedFate
Single lent bell0-3-17¾16"George Mears & Co.NeverReturned to the foundry 1858

History

1552 Record of 4 bells in the tower. [1]
1830 A ring of 6 cast was by Thomas Mears II (tenor 13½ cwt).
1857 On 16 March, a large fire destroyed the spire, bells, clock and everything in the tower, damaging windows and walls. The fire was supposedly caused by one of the ringers and was so hot that 5 out of 6 of the bells melted before they fell. A small temporary bell was supplied by Whitechapel for use by the parish until the restoration was complete. The bell was returned in June 1858. [2]
1858 The tower and spire were rebuilt and a new ring of 8 was cast by John Warner cast mainly using old metal. They were judged to be a success except that maybe the front three were a little light for the others. [3]
1894 Complaints were made in the Bromley and District Times about the constant ringing on the front 6 bells as the tenor was going too badly, encouraging the parish to effect a restoration, as Lewisham had done recently. [4]
1924 Bells quarter turned and rehung by Thomas Groombridge Jnr.
1937 Bells retuned and rehung in a new frame by Mears & Stainbank. [6]
1984 New rope guides fitted.
1988 Major overhaul of bearings and fittings by Whitechapel.
[1] Item iiij great bells suted of brasse in the Steple and one Saints bell of brasse. Item ij hand bells and iij sacryng bells of brasse. (Edwardian Inventory, 1552)
[2] Bell supplied to G.B. Wollaston, Church Warden. A 16" bell 0-3-17¾ with clapper, stock, lever and brasses, lent for temporary use and returned in June 1858 (Whitechapel records, 30 Mar 1858)
[3] CHISLEHURST. - THE CHURCH. - The complete restoration of the tower, spire, and bells of the parish church is happily now effected, and once again is seen the tall and graceful spire towering above the lofty and venerable old trees which surround the beautiful and neat little churchyard. It may be unknown to many of our readers that the fire on the 16th March, 1857, which originated in the belfry (from the supposed carelessness of one of the ringers), entirely destroyed the spire, bells, clock, and everything within the tower, and greatly damaged its windows and walls, which accordingly, at the restoration, had, to a great extent, to be rebuilt. By the timely arrival on that occasion of two engines, and the untiring exertions of the inhabitants, the flames were entirely confined to the tower, and the other part of the church was saved, although the lead on part of the roof had begun to melt from the burning rafters falling upon it. So intense was the heat from the immense burning beams, floors, &c., that five out of the six bells were melted before they fell. The new peal of eight has been now cast by Warner, of London, and is considered by competent judges to be very good. The tenor weighs over 17 cwt., and sounds E natural (third space in the bass stave), the rest completing the octave. If there be any fault at all, it may be that the first, second, and third are rather too light for the others. Mr. Denison, the designer of the "Victoria," of Westminster, has been down to hear and examine them, and has expressed a very favourable opinion of them. The great requirement now is, perseverance on the part of the ringers until they attain perfection. A party of excellent ringers from London opened them, and the celebrated Campanologian Society from Woolwich have rung them once or twice, giving quite a treat to the inhabitants. Formerly the bells were rung from the first floor, but they are now rung from the floor of the church, which is an improvement in many respects. The whole work of restoration has been under the direction of G. B. Wollaston, Esq., architect, a gentleman residing in the village. The builder was Mr. Grammar, of London. The clock is an excellent piece of workmanship, made by Dent, of London. It chimes the quarters on the first and fourth bells, forming a pleasing contrast with the notation of the hour on the tenor. (Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser - Sat 8 Jan 1859)
[4] CAMPANOLOGY. To the Editor of the TIMES. SIR,- It has often been said to me "what a dull place Chislehurst seems to be, no life about it," and to add greatly to the dulness the musical notes of the parish church bells are seldom to be heard now, and when they are it is only the front six of the octave (enough to drive a lover of music away from hearing them); much better if it were the back six. I believe this is due to the big bell (the tenor) going very badly, and requiring a thorough practical man to inspect it. I should think if our neighbours at Lewisham (a poor parish) with a little perseverance of the ringers can raise a sum of something like £200 to have one bell recast, and everything in connection with the others new, surely Chislehurst can raise a less sum to have theirs put in ringing order, so that they can do as their neighbours, viz, ring with ease and comfort, and for their ringing to be a credit to them when they have done. The work at Lewisham was carried out be Messrs. Taylor & Co., of Loughborough, and reflects great credit on that firm. I might also say that the Kent County Association of Change Ringers have men appointed to inspect and report on belfries, whose services can be obtained through the Rev. F.J.O.Helmore, hon. sec., Precincts, Canterbury, or Rev. T. E. Teignmouth-Shore, district sec., 23, Thornford Road, Lewisham S.E. Trusting the bells will again be sending forth their tuneful notes ere the festive season arrives.- I am, Sir, yours faithfully. CAMPANOLOGIST. (Bromley & District Times, Fri 2 Nov 1894)
[6] Mears & Stainbank didn't record weights of the bells on their arrival, but we know that the tenor was 17-2-2 was published by F E Robinson in his book "Among the Bells". The bells were first weighed after the canons had been removed, with the tenor coming to 16-1-21.The bells were then tuned and weighed again at 15-2-19. Mears had more of an interest in weights before and after tuning than they did with canons. (Whitechapel records)

The intermediate chamber


1st floor chamber with the clock and Ellacombe rack.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 Apr 2022


Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 Apr 2022

The belfry


View of the belfry
Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 Apr 2022

The 4th, by the door.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 Apr 2022

The 3rd.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 Apr 2022

The 6th.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 Apr 2022

The tenor.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 Apr 2022

The 2nd.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 Apr 2022

The 3rd.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 Apr 2022

The treble.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 Apr 2022

The 5th.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 Apr 2022

The 7th.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 Apr 2022


Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 Apr 2022


Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 Apr 2022

Looking up.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 Apr 2022

Peal Boards

Timber Performance Board dated 2019
11 Jun 2012: 5120 Ealing S Major (In memory of Mark A S Jones (peal rung at the Annunciation).)
11 Jun 2012: 5120 Cambridge S Major (In memory of Mark A S Jones.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 14 April 2022

Brass Performance Board dated approx. 1864
22 Nov 1894: 5040 Grandsire Triples (1st peal by a Chislehurst band.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 April 2022

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1997
12 Apr 1997: 1250 Lincolnshire S Major (Retirement of Fr John Allen.)
12 Apr 1997: 1260 Plain Bob Doubles (Retirement of Fr John Allen.)
27 Apr 1997: 1260 Plain Bob Doubles (Retirement of Fr John Allen.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 April 2022

Brass Performance Board dated approx. 1924
10 Nov 1924: 5056 Plain Bob Major (Marking the rehanging of the bells.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 April 2022

Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1990
20 May 1990: 5040 Plain Bob Triples (Farewell Rev Barbara Smith & Fr Douglas Baker.)

Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 April 2022

Framed card Board dated approx. 1947

Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 April 2022

Framed card Bell/Restoration Detail Board dated approx.

Photo: Dickon R Love, 18 April 2022

Recent Peals
The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
2019-11-285088 Ely Surprise Major
2017-03-065152 Spliced Surprise Major
2014-08-285088 London Surprise Major
2012-02-115120 Cambridge Surprise Major
2008-05-035152 Spliced Surprise Major (23m)
2004-08-285024 Spliced Surprise Major
2001-04-285088 Lincolnshire Surprise Major
2000-11-185088 Bristol Surprise Major
1991-05-115152 Spliced Surprise Major
1990-05-205040 Plain Bob Triples
1984-10-205120 St Bega Delight Major
1984-03-035152 Jersey Surprise Major
1980-03-295184 Ealing Surprise Major
1974-04-275152 Glasgow Surprise Major
1969-11-085056 Spliced Surprise Major
1965-03-205184 Lincoln Surprise Major
1964-02-085056 Wembley Surprise Major
1963-03-025280 Spliced Surprise Major
1912-05-135040 Grandsire Triples
1899-09-165088 Superlative Surprise Major
1899-05-275120 Double Norwich Court Bob Major
1879-06-025040 Grandsire Triples
Recent Quarter Peals
The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
2022-02-191260 Doubles (5m)
2020-01-181260 Doubles (4m)
2019-08-211260 Grandsire Doubles
2019-07-081280 Yorkshire Surprise Major
2018-06-301260 Grandsire Triples
2018-06-291260 Plain Bob Doubles
2017-11-111260 Grandsire Doubles
2017-07-221280 Cornwall Surprise Major
2017-04-031260 Centenary Doubles
2017-02-281264 Double Norwich Court Bob Major
2016-10-261260 Doubles (6m/p)
2016-09-241260 Spliced Doubles (2m)
2016-06-111290 Doubles (2m)
2015-11-301280 Double Norwich Court Bob Major
2015-08-311260 Plain Bob Minor
2015-04-111260 Plain Bob Triples
2014-10-111260 Plain Bob Doubles
2014-07-131260 Plain Bob Doubles
2014-03-221260 Grandsire Triples
2011-07-181260 Plain Bob Triples
2010-11-061260 Plain Bob Triples
2010-06-051260 Grandsire Triples
2006-12-101260 Plain Bob Triples
2003-10-081260 Plain Bob Doubles
2003-09-221260 Minor (2 methods)
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: 24 April 2022