Swalecliffe, St John the Baptist

Photo: John Taylor & Co, 2020

  • Single bell hung forswing chiming with lever
  • Tenor: 1½ cwt approx.
  • Grid Ref: TR357299
  • Open wooden turret with spire
  • Denomination: Church of England
    Diocese (Anglican): Canterbury
    Archdeaconry (Anglican): Canterbury
  • Building Listed Grade: II Click for Heritage details.

Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
Single bell 1½ cwt approx.19⅛" 1875 John Warner & Sons Removed Never

 - Hung dead


Prior to 1875

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Single bell1½ cwt approx.20"UnknownNeverBlank. Replaced 1875.

Prior to 1764

Bell DateFounderRetunedFate
One of a pairUnknownNeverSold 1764


1719 The headstock of the bell was repaired. [1]
1726 The spire was restored. [2]
1764 One of the two church bells was sold for £4. [3]
1799 Record of 1 bell in the tower. [4]
1819 The churchwarden accounts note payment for tolling the bell for the King (King George III). It is not clear why as he didn't die until the following January. [5]
1824 The spire was repaired and a new weathervane was erected. [6]
1874 It was decided to apply for a Faculty to rebuild the Church as "The state of the outer walls having recently become unsafe and dilapidated."
1875 The foundation stone of the new church was laid by the Earl of Aberdenn on 8 July. The last service was held in the old church on 20 June. A new bell was cast by John Warner & Sons for the church. [7]
1876 The new church, which was built on the exact same site, was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Tait. Architect, Robert Wheeler on 11 Feb. The church cast £1300, which included the new bell which was hung for ringing. [8]
1887 J C L Stahlschmidt noted the single bell as being blank and 20" in diameter.
1929 The bell turret, spire and bell crashed to the ground in a gale. The belfry was rebuilt as before although the bell was rehung for swing chiming.
2019 During extensive repairs to the belfry and spire, the bell was taken down by Brian Butcher on behalf of John Taylor & Co.
2020 The bell was removed to John Taylor & Co, Loughborough. Further work was held up by the coronavirus pandemic, but the bell was finally restored with all new fittings, hung for stationary chiming.
[1] pd for mending the stock of the bell 4d. (Churchwarden accounts, 1719)
[2] Carrying a Load of timber to shore up the Steeple 5s. (Churchwarden accounts, 1726)
[3] Received for "One Church Bell £4..0s..0d" (Churchwarden accounts, 1764)
[4] The church, which is very small, is dedicated to St. John Baptist. It consists of one isle and one chancel, having at the west end a flim spire steeple, covered with shingles, in which hangs one bell. ('The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent. Vol 8', Edward Hasted)
[5] March 29th to tolling the bell for the King 1s. (Churchwarden accounts, 1819)
[6] The Stepel New repeard and a new Wayne (Churchwarden accounts, July 1824)
[7] SWALECLIFFE. THE NEW CHURCH. - The foundation stone of the new church was laid with due ceremony on Thursday last. The weather was most unfavourable, but a goodly number of parishioners and friends assembled at the site of the old church, and at a quarter before four the service appointed for the occasion was commenced ... In the course of the service the stone, bearing a suitable inscription, was lowered into its place upon a bed of mortar spread by the Earl of Aberdeen, who carefully adjusted the stone and then declared it laid in the name of the Holy Trinity. (Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald - Saturday 10 July 1875)
[8] SWALECLIFFE. CONSECRATION OF THE NEW CHURCH BY THE ARCHBISHOP. On Friday last, the new church at Swalecliffe dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and erected on the exact site where at least two previous similar edifices have stood, was opened and consecrated for Divine Worship by his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. The new building, the foundation-stone of which was laid in July of last year, stands at a short distance from the sea shore, and forms a prominent and pleasing object in the surrounding landscape. The exterior walls are build of Kentish rag with Bathstone dressings, while the roof, which is surmounted by a slender and graceful bell-cote, is covered with red and black tiles dispose in patterns. (Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald - Saturday 12 February 1876)


The bell sitting on the foundry floor in Loughborough.
Photo: John Taylor & Co, 2020

The old church before it was pulled down in 1874.
Photo: David Cawley collection

The bell returns to Swalecliffe from Loughborough.
Photo: Brian Butcher, Nov 2020

The church with the collapsed spite in c.1920.
Photo: David Cawley collection

The bell being lowered in 2019.
Photo: David Cawley collection

Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent Page updated: 23 May 2020