Farnborough, St Giles the Abbot

Photo: Nick Reynolds, 2012

  • 8 bells hung for full circle ringing, an older bell also hung full circle and a clock bell
  • Tenor: 3-1-18 in D
  • Grid Ref: TQ443641
  • A structural engineer has advised that the service bell is not rung at the same time as the main ring of 8.
  • Rung from: Upstairs Ringing Room
  • Frame: 2021 John Taylor, using the 1951 Gillett & Johnston cast iron frameside for the service bell. Modified to accept 2 more bells in 2021, with the 7th (of 8) on top.
  • 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 (Felstead Database)

  • Details of the Bells

    Bell Weight
    (most recent)

    (As supplied 2011)
    Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
    ® Treble 1-3-10 19" D 2020 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Flat Never
    ® 2 1-3-25 19⅝" C♯ 2011 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Flat Never
    ® 3 2-0-23 20½" B 2012 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Flat Never
    ® 4 2-0-19 21½" A 2011 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Flat Never
    ® 5 2-1-5 2-1-15 22" G 2011 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Flat 2021 John Taylor & Co.
    ® 6 2-1-26 23" F♯ 2011 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Flat Never
    ® 7 2-2-26 23⅞" E 2011 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Flat Never
    ® Tenor 3-1-18 26½" D 2020 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Flat Never
    ® Single bell 9-2-19 36" A 1951 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon (6949) Flat Never

    ® - Hung for full circle ringing

    Bellframes

    Position Frame Bells Year Maker Material Truss(es) Local
    Layout
    Single level 1 1,2,3,4,5,6,8 2012 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Steel 8.1.A.b
    7
    Slightly higher beside frame 1 2 Gillett bell 1951 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon Cast iron 8.3.A.m
    1
    Higher above frame 1 3 7 2020 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Steel 8.1.A.b
    1
    Inscriptions on the Bells

    How the bells are tuned

    Earlier service bells

    Bell Weight
    (most recent)
    Diameter Note Date Founder Retuned Fate
    Single bell 6-0-24 31¼" C 1907 Gillett & Johnston Never Recast 1951
    Single bell 28½" 1667 John Hodson Never Recast 1907
    Earlier clock bells

    Bell Weight
    (most recent)
    Diameter Note Date Founder Retuned Fate
    Clock bell 11" 1664 John Hodson Never Stolen
    Clock bell 3 cwt approx. 24" G 1766 Lester & Pack Never Transferred to Thurloxton, Som via Keltek
    History

    1552 Record of 3 bells in the tower ("Item iij bells suted of brass in the steple"). [1]
    1631 The church was so damaged by a storm on 26 Dec that it was necessary to take it down and rebuild it.
    1664 Small bell cast by John Hodson. This became cracked in the past century and was stored in the porch until it was stolen in recent years. This was known as the "Tinker" bell.
    1667 Larger bell recast by John Hodson.
    1724 The tower and spire was damaged by a storm.
    1766 The present clock bell was cast by Lester & Pack. It was not originally for the church and it is not precisely known where it came from.
    1838 Tower struck by lightning, severely damaging it requiring it to be extensively rebuilt. The timber spire was not replaced and the tower was given a flat roof with a parapet crowned with a stone pinnacle at each corner.
    1887 Record of 2 bells in the tower.
    1907 Single bell recast by Gillett & Johnston. It was cast at 6-1-16 and sent out on 4th July. [2]
    1949 The tower was gutted by fire in Jan, which destroyed the bells. Gillett & Johnston offered estimates for bells of various sizes, pointing out that they had cast the original bell.
    1950 Tower rebuilt under the supervision of Hobday and Maynard, architects, of Bromley, completed the following year. The old clock from the Stables at the Rookery, Bromley Common was purchased for £25.
    1951 The tower was restored under Miss Cunningham, church architect and Hobday & Maynard, architects in Bromley. At this time the spire was restored to the tower also. A bell cast by Gillett & Johnson on 28th January using metal from the old bell. It was hung in a new cast iron frame and cost ?282. The old clock from the Stables at The Rookery, Bromley Common (a large house which once stood on what is now the Bromley College of Technology), was purchased for the church for ?25 and refurbished by Gillett & Johnston. The clock strikes the hours on the 1766 bell which possibly came from The Rookery also.
    1969 John Taylor & Co estimated for adding five bells to make a ring of six (£3,400) or seven bells to make a chime of eight - the tenor remaining hung for ringing (£2,600).
    2012 Six bells were acquired from John Taylor Bellfounders (having been earlier cast as the front six of a new ring of ten for St Martin in the Cornmarket in Worcester, but subsequently made available after a different ring of ten was cast). The 2nd was recast (on 16th Feb) as Taylors weren't especially happy to pass on the specification requested by Worcester to Farnborough. All six were hung in a new grillage frame with additional holes cut ready to take framesides for a future top and tail augmentation to eight. The existing bell was refitted and rehung with full circle ringing fittings elsewhere in the tower. The bells were dedicated by the Bishop of Tonbridge on 18th Nov.
    2020 The ring of 6 was remodelled into 8 by adding a treble and a tenor and retuning the 4th (of 6) down a semitone to form the new 5th. Hanging didn't take place until the following year owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
    2021 The 7th (of 8) was hung in new framework above the other bells. The presence of this new framework meant that the clock bell, hung from the ceiling, had to be taken down while its future was considered. The Gillett bell was still left in situ hung for ringing, although advice from the structural engineer was that this bell should not be rung when the main ring is rung. Hanging was finished 1 April.
    2023 The former clock bell was transferred to Thurloxton in Somerset to augment the ring of 5 there to 6 by forming the new treble.

    [1] Item iij bells suted of brass in the steple.' ('Edwardian Inventory, 1552)
    [2] Gillett order book: Recast old bell and add 2cwt to make a bell of 6th. New fittings. Rehang in existing frame. Inscription: REFECTUM. A.D. M.C.MVII. E. TESTAMENTO. / MARIA. ANNA. OLNEY. OBIIT. A.D. MCMV. / IN. MEMORIAM/ CONJUGIS. EIVS. FREDERICI. / OLNEY. PATRISQUE. HENRICI. VINCENT. / MATRISQUE. MARIA. [possibly V for U throughout]' ('Gillett Order Book, 17 Jun, 1907)
    Videos

    The belfry before the ring of 6


    The 1667 bell. The picture came from an old postcard.
    Photo: David Cawley collection

    This bell was then recast into this 1907 bell.
    Photo: David Cawley collection

    The single bell, hung for ringing before the 2012 restoration.
    Photo: Dickon Love, 7 Dec 2002

    The single bell, hung for ringing before the 2012 restoration.
    Photo: Dickon Love, 7 Dec 2002

    The clock bell hung from a beam high in the tower.
    Photo: Dickon Love, 7 Dec 2002
    The installation of the ring of 6


    The Gillett bell at Loughborough in 2011.
    Photo: Nicholas Wilkins, 2012

    The five ex-Worcester bells being prepared for their arrival to Farnborough.
    Photo: Nicholas Wilkins, 2012

    The bellframe being constructed at Loughborough.
    Photo: David Cawley, 2012

    One of the ex-Worcester bells on the tuning machine.
    Photo: David Cawley, 2012

    The belfry photographed on the day of the dedication of the bells.
    Photo: Dickon Love, 18 Nov 2012


    Photo: Dickon Love, 18 Nov 2012


    Photo: Dickon Love, 18 Nov 2012


    Photo: Dickon Love, 18 Nov 2012


    Photo: Dickon Love, 18 Nov 2012


    Photo: Dickon Love, 18 Nov 2012


    Photo: Dickon Love, 18 Nov 2012


    Photo: Dickon Love, 18 Nov 2012


    Photo: Dickon Love, 18 Nov 2012


    Photo: Dickon Love, 18 Nov 2012


    Photo: Dickon Love, 18 Nov 2012

    The ringing room
    Photo: Dickon Love, 18 Nov 2012
    The belfry after the augmentation to 8


    The treble, with taping on the clapper to help solve double clappering.
    Photo: Dickon Love, 11 Mar 2023

    The 2nd (former treble).
    Photo: Dickon Love, 11 Mar 2023

    View of the belfry. The 7th is in the upper frame. The position of this frame meant that the clock bell had to go.
    Photo: Dickon Love, 11 Mar 2023


    Photo: Dickon Love, 11 Mar 2023


    Photo: Dickon Love, 11 Mar 2023


    Photo: Dickon Love, 11 Mar 2023

    The treble.
    Photo: Dickon Love, 11 Mar 2023

    The treble.
    Photo: Dickon Love, 11 Mar 2023

    The treble.
    Photo: Dickon Love, 11 Mar 2023
    Frame layout


    Grillage frame layout (the service bell is marked red and comprises 2 trusses).
    Photo: Dickon Love, 11 Mar 2023
    Peal boards

    Timber Performance Board dated approx. 2013

  • Jun 2012 : 1320 Cambride S Minor (1st quarter on the bells.)
  • Nov 2012 : 5040 Minor (7m) (Rung after the dedication. 1st peal on the bells.)
  • Jun 2013 : 5040 Minor (7m) (Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.)

  • Photo: Dickon R Love, 11 March 2023

    Timber Performance Board dated approx. 2016

  • Dec 2015 : 5040 Doubles (4m) (In memory of Frank Lewis.)
  • Nov 2016 : 5040 Plain Bob Minor

  • Photo: Dickon R Love, 11 March 2023

    Timber Performance Board dated approx. 2018

  • Nov 2018 : 5040 Minor (4m) (100th anniversary of the Armistice.)

  • Photo: Dickon R Love, 11 March 2023

    Bells elsewhere in the parish


    Page updated: 11 March 2023