Burham, New Church of St Mary

Photo: David L Cawley collection

  • Former ring of 3, church now demolished
  • Tenor: 3½ cwt approx. in E♭.
  • Formerly ring of 3, tenor 3½ cwt approx. Bells transferred to Preston-next-Wingham, Maidstone (St Michael), Burham Old Church.
  • Grid Ref:
  • Rung from: Upstairs Ringing Room
  • Frame: Partly mediaeval, adapted 1632, 1821 and 1881.

Prior to 1982

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Treble (of 3)3¾ cwt approx.25⅛"F1700Richard PhelpsNeverTransferred to Preston-next-Wingham.
2nd (of 3)4¾ cwt approx.28⅞"E1734Richard PhelpsNeverTransferred to St Michael's, Maidstone.
Tenor (of 3)3½ cwt approx.25¼"E♭c.1300Richard de WimbisNeverStolen in 1983 from Old Church.


c 1300 A bell was cast by Richard de Wymbis for the old church.
1700 A bell was cast by Richard Phelps for the old church.
1734 A bell was cast by Richard Phelps for the old church.
1881 A new church was built and the 3 bells, ancient frame and fittings were transferred from the old church.
1974 The installation had fallen into a terrible state, the bells were taken down, 2 placed on the belfry floor and the c.1300 bell rehung in new fittings for swing chiming by Whitechapel.
1978 Following structural failure, the church was closed.
1981 The church was demolished after being declared unsafe. The frame was destroyed and the bells taken back to the old church for storage. The Richard de Wymbis bell, which was the oldest in the Diocese of Rochester, was taken back to the Old Church by the Kent CACR. The architect would not let them hoist it to the first floor for safety pending the installation of the new frame, and it was left on the ground floor with the result that it was stolen.
1982 The 1734 bell was transferred to St Michael & All Angels, Maidstone as a clock bell.
1983 The 1700 bell was transferred to St Mildred, Preston-next-Wingham as a treble to augment the 5 to 6.


The interior of the tower in 1970: bells in order 1-3-2. The three bells hung in a part-mediaeval frame with fittings of c.1632 moved lock, stock and barrel (look at the stay on the second) from the Old Church. The bell nearest the cameria is now the treb

Here are a series of photographs of the treble bell being removed from the tower in 1981. The work was done by members of the Kent County Association of Change Ringers (David Cawley, David Joyce, Richard Offen, Sean Smith).




By the afternoon, the treble was in Dover (in storage for Preston), the "tenor" in St Michael & All Angels, Maidstone, and the middle size bell (the actual tenor) plus the font (the KCACR will turn its hand to anything!) in the Old Church.

A picture of the Richard de Wymbis bell of c.1300 following rehanging by Whitechapel in the Victorian Church. The photo is by Christopher Dalton and was used to illustrate the PM Report which was a part of the redundancy process.
Photo: Christopher Dalton (from David Cawley collection)

The Bell Frame

The bell frame consisted of mediaeval sills, centre-posts and straight braces and was designed for three bells hanging side by side. It bore the following on its east head:

1632 : F T . R D . T V
E L  T . P  (carved crest) F K

The tenor pit had the following letters:


and other obliterated.

Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent Page updated: 10 October 2020