Shortlands, St Mary

Photo: Dickon R Love, 5 Apr 2020

  • Single bell
  • Tenor: tba
  • Formerly 3 bells destroyed in the War
  • Grid Ref: TQ392688
  • Denomination: Church of England
    Diocese (Anglican): Rochester

Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
Single bell not known 1909

 - Hung dead

Prior to 1944

Bell DateFounderRetunedFate
Treble (of 3)1877John Warner & SonsNeverAssumed destroyed in 1944.
2nd (of 3)1877John Warner & SonsNeverAssumed destroyed in 1944.
Tenor (of 3)1877John Warner & SonsNeverAssumed destroyed in 1944.


1867 Foundation stone laid on 5 Oct. Architect Mr Whichcord, builders Dove Brothers. [1]
1868 The first service was held in the newly erected church on 5 July. It had a tower and spire 120 ft high in the angle of the chancel and north transept. There was one bell (no details).
1870 Parish created from St George's, Beckenham. Church consecrated by the Bishop of Dover on 21st September.
1877 A new ring of three bells was placed in the tower by John Warner & Sons. (No other details). The old bell was sent to Noble High School (now Noble College), Machilipatnam, Madras.
1909 A bell was cast for the parish church of St John the Evangelist, Dunton Green.
1940 On 21 Sept, the south aisle of the church and many windows were severely damaged by a landmine. Later that year the spire collapsed and the bell stage of the tower was demolished. The church's spire apparently fell in one piece, flat on the ground such that local children joked that they could walk up the spire without needing a steeplejack's harness! The bells survived and were rescued, being stored at the Vicarage.
1944 On 22 July, the church and vicarage were shattered beyond repair by a flying bomb. Another one followed on 27th.
1947 The 3 bells, which were still in storage at the Vicarage, were stolen, along with a number of other fittings in the church and vicarage.
1948 Old church demolished after last service in ruins on 'Bomb Sunday' in July.
1955 The church was rebuilt by Arthur Bailey (of Ansell & Bailey) on the same site at a cost of £80,000. It was consecrated by the Bishop of Rochester on 20 Nov in the presence of the Lord Mayor of London. It had no tower nor bell. [2]
1988 The bell of St John the Evangelist, Dunton Green was acquired on the closure fo that church. It is hung in a bracket on the south side, has no canons and is fitted with an electro-magnetic hammer and control unit by John Taylor Bellfounders Ltd. [3]
[1] New Church at Shortlands. — The foundation stone of a new church at Shortlands, near Bromley, Kent, dedicated to St. Mary, was laid on Saturday by Miss Wilkinson. The site is one of great beauty, and the church will be a conspicuous object for many miles round. The land has been given and the building will be erected at the sole cost of the Wilkinson family. The style of architecture is Gothic of the thirteenth century, and the church will comprise a nave, side aisle, transepts, chancel and organ chamber, together with a lofty tower and spire at the north-west angle. The material employed is Kentish rag stone, with dressings of Bath stone. The roof is framed with open timbers covered with boarding, and the seatings will accommodate 400 worshippers. The design has been prepared by Mr. Whichcord, F.S.A., architect, under whose superintendence the works are being carried out. Messrs. Dove Brothers are tbe builders. (Morning Post, 7 Oct 1867)
[2] ATTENDED BY THE LORD MAYOR OF LONDON : THE CONSECRATION BY THE BISHOP OF ROCHESTER OF THE NEW CHURCH OF ST. MARY THE VIRGIN, SHORTLANDS, KENT. The Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Ackroyd. attended the consecration by the Bishop of Rochester on November 20 of the new Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Shortlands. Kent, built on the site of the church destroyed by enemy action in 1944. [Article accompanied by a photograph] (Illustrated London News, 26 Nov 1055)
[3] Clean, renovate and adapt a bell with electrically controlled movable hammer (Kent History and Library Centre, 1989 [DRb/A/f/1/19G/26])


This is a picture of the church before it was destroyed in the War.
Photo: David Cawley collection

The church fo St John the Evangelist, Dunton Green showing the bell in the open gable that eventually came to Shortlands.
Photo: David Cawley collection

Close up of the bell hanging from the wall of the church.
Photo: Dickon R Love, 5 Apr 2020

Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent Page updated: 5 April 2020