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Higham
 

Higham, St Mary


Photo: Glyn Baker, 1 Sept 2005, CC BY-SA 2.0

  • 3 bells hung dead
  • Tenor: 3-1-9 in D#.
  • Formerly single bell hung full-circle.
  • Grid Ref: TQ363768
  • Vested in the Churches Conservation Trust
  • Frame: 1713 timber frame for 1 bell, with 3 deadstocks subsequently fitted across it in 1914.
  • Building Listed Grade: I Click for Heritage details.

Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
1 2-2-1423" F# 1914 Alfred Bowell, Ipswich Flat Never
2 2-3-623¹⁵⁄₁₆" E# 1914 Alfred Bowell, Ipswich Flat Never
3 3-1-925¹⁵⁄₁₆" D# 1914 Alfred Bowell, Ipswich Flat Never

 - Hung dead

Inscriptions

How the bells are tuned

Prior to 1914

Bell Weight
(most recent)
DiameterDateFounderRetunedFate
Priest's bell1 cwt approx.16½"1713Isaac HadleyNeverReplaced 1914.
Ringing bell6½ cwt approx.33½"1713Isaac HadleyNeverReplaced 1914.

History

1713 A new timber belfry and spire was built under the Rev'd George Smith, who arrived in 1710. 2 bells were cast by Isaac Hadley. One was hung for full circle ringing in an oak frame (possibly an existing frame) while the other was hung as a Priest's bell for swing chiming sitting between the bell frame and the timbers of the steeple.
1863 Church restored by architect Robert Speechly.
1914 The two bells were recast with 3 cwt of additional metal into a chime of 3 which were hung dead in a row in the original frame. They were chimed with Ellacombe apparatus. The work was done by Alfred Bowell, who at the same time rehung and augmented the bells in the other (newer) church in the parish, St John's. The two sets of bells were dedicated on the same day (Sun 27 Oct ) by the Archdeacon of Rochester. [1] [2] [3]
1987 The church was closed and St John's church was established as the parish church of Higham. St Mary's was vested in the Redundant Churches Fund (now Churches Conservation Trust) which now looks after it in conjunction with The Friends of St. Mary's Church.
2022 Restoration took place on the spire, replacing the red cedar shingles with oak and painting the louvres and bell fittings ironwork. This allowed access to the belfry through the louvre door. Access would otherwise have been up a particularly long internal ladder which allowed inspection by Dickon Love.
[1] To recasting the two old bells and adding 3 cwt of new metal to make a ring of three fixed complete with chiming apparatus £50. Inscription on new bells 79 letters & figures @ 4d each £1-6-4. Total £51-6-4 paid with Higham St John's account cheques 18 Sept 1914 & 18 May 1915. (Bowell Records, 1914 11th Sept.)
[2] HIGHAM. THE BELLS. - The necessary sum having been raised, the renovation of the bells of St. Mary's and St. John's churches has been commenced. The contractors hope to have them ready for ringing by the end of August. (Kent Messenger & Gravesend Telegraph, Sat 25 Jul 1914)
[3] DEDICATION OF BELLS - A peal of three bells has been hung in the Parish Church in memory of Mr. Robert Dartnall, for many years sexton and bell-ringer and at St. John's the old bells have been restored and a new one added, which was given by Mr. Warwick Stunt and his sister Mrs. Neame in memory of their mother, Mrs Catherine Stunt. On Sunday the new bells were dedicated at both churches by the Ven. Archdeacon of Rochester, who said it was a unique experience for him to dedicate two sets of bells in the same parish on the same day; in fact, he had never before heard of such an occurrence. The whole of the money, about £200, was raised in a very short time by the indefatigable efforts of the popular Vicar, the Rev. Dr. Allen. £80 of this amount being collected outside the parish, chiefly from West Surrey, his former residence. (Kent Messenger & Gravesend Telegraph, Sat 3 Oct 1914)

Belfry photographs


The belfry sitting under the spire, accessed from scaffolding on the outside.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 4 Mar 2022

The 3 bells hanging in the frame of the original 1713 full circle bell.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 4 Mar 2022

The timber frame may be older than 1713.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 4 Mar 2022


Photo: Dickon R Love, 4 Mar 2022


Photo: Dickon R Love, 4 Mar 2022


Photo: Dickon R Love, 4 Mar 2022


Photo: Dickon R Love, 4 Mar 2022

Latin inscription on the lip of the tenor.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 4 Mar 2022

The second.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 4 Mar 2022

The treble.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 4 Mar 2022

The second (foreground), tenor (on left).
Photo: Dickon R Love, 4 Mar 2022

The tenor.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 4 Mar 2022

Notches in the frame showing where the Isaac Hadley "Priest's bell" hung, slung between the main frame and the timbers of the steeple.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 4 Mar 2022


Photo: Dickon R Love, 4 Mar 2022


Photo: Dickon R Love, 4 Mar 2022

A view below the bells.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 4 Mar 2022

Above the bells, there is another notch that might either be an alternative bearing, or lifting point.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 4 Mar 2022

The second.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 4 Mar 2022


Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent Page updated: 4 March 2022