Elham, St Mary the Virgin

  • 8 bells hung for full circle ringing
  • Tenor: 13-2-15 in F♯.
  • Grid Ref: TR177438
  • Complete ring cast at the same time
  • Rung from: Upstairs Ringing Room
  • Frame: 1887 John Warner & Sons, strengthened in 1983
  • Denomination: Church of England
    Diocese (Anglican): Canterbury
    Archdeaconry (Anglican): Ashford
  • Kent County Association of Change Ringers District: Canterbury
  • Building Listed Grade: I Click for Heritage details.
  • Peals rung at the tower

Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
® Treble 3-2-1626" F♯ 1970 Whitechapel Bell Foundry Flat Never
® 2 4-1-1127" E♯ 1970 Whitechapel Bell Foundry Flat Never
® 3 4-3-2728½" D♯ 1970 Whitechapel Bell Foundry Flat Never
® 4 5-0-2030" C♯ 1970 Whitechapel Bell Foundry Flat Never
® 5 6-2-832½" B 1970 Whitechapel Bell Foundry Flat Never
® 6 7-1-2634" A♯ 1970 Whitechapel Bell Foundry Flat Never
® 7 9-3-038" G♯ 1970 Whitechapel Bell Foundry Flat Never
® Tenor 13-2-1542¼" F♯ 1970 Whitechapel Bell Foundry Flat Never

®  - Hung for full circle ringing


Frame Bells Year Maker Material Truss(es) Local
1 All bells 1887 John Warner & Sons Timber


The 1763 Ring of 8

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Treble (of 8)4-2-228"1763Lester & PackNeverRecast 1970
2nd (of 8)4-2-1829"1763Lester & PackNeverRecast 1970
3rd (of 8)5-3-830"1763Lester & PackNeverRecast 1970
4th (of 8)6-2-1132½"1763Lester & PackNeverRecast 1970
5th (of 8)7-0-1134"1763Lester & PackNeverRecast 1970
6th (of 8)7-3-2436"1763Lester & PackNeverRecast 1970
7th (of 8)10-2-01763Lester & PackNeverRecast 1809
Tenor (of 8)15-2-1145"1763Lester & PackNeverRecast 1970

1809 recast

Bell Weight
(most recent)
7th (of 8)11-3-2741"1809Thomas Mears INeverRecast 1970

Original 5 from Sandwich

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Treble (of 5)8-1-221659John WilnarNeverRecast 1763
2nd (of 5)8-2-131659John WilnarNeverRecast 1763
3rd (of 5)12-0-91659John WilnarNeverRecast 1763
4th (of 5)15-0-61659John WilnarNeverRecast 1763
Tenor (of 5)20-0-141659John WilnarNeverRecast 1763


1552 Record of 5 bells. [1]
1639 5 bells cast by John Wilnar for St Mary's, Sandwich.
1667 Tower of St Mary's, Sandwich fell down. Some time afterwards, the bells were given to Elham.
1758 Record of 5 bells in the tower. [2]
1763 Bells recast into 8 by Lester & Pack.
1799 Record of 8 bells. [3]
1809 7th recast by Thomas Mears and the bells were rehung. They were reopened on 20 May 1809. Bands from around the county were invited to come along and compete with a touch of 1000 Bob Major for a set of eight gloves. [4]
1887 Bells rehung in a new frame by Warner. Just before this happened, J C L Stahlschmidt visited and found the bells and frame in bad order. [5]
1970 Bells recast and rehung by Whitechapel in the old frame.
1983 Timber frame strengthened.
[1] Item v great belles. (Edwardian Inventory, 1552)
[2] This Church consists of a Tiled Chancell, and 3 Isles cover’d with Lead. On the South Side of the Chancell, are the Ruins of Another. In The Steeple, which is a Tower, Pointed with a Lofty Spire, hang 5 heavy Bells, all made by John Wlnar in ye Year 1659 (sic). [Real date was 1639] (Rev’d Bryan Faussett, 1758)
[3] The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, is large and handsome, consisting of three isles, the middle one having an upper range of windows, and one chancel, having a tower steeple, with a spire shast on it, at the west end, in which are eight bells, a clock, and chimes. ('The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent. Vol 8', Edward Hasted)
[4] TO CAMPANALOGISTS. ON SATURDAY, the 20th of this inst. May, EIGHT PAIRS of GLOVES will he RUNG for in Elham Church; to become the prize of that set of Ringers who shall compleat the best peal One Thousand BOB-MAJORS. N. B. The Bells have all been lately new hung, and every conveniency made at the new ringing-loft for the purpose of ringing changes. - A good Dinner will be provided at the Rose and Crown Inn; to be on table at one o'clock. (Kentish Gazette (Tuesday 16 May 1809))
[5] At present the frame is in bad order and the bells can only be chimed. I am sorry to see that the reprehensible practice of "clocking" has been introduced. The sooner it is discontinued the better for the bells. There is a local tradition as to No. 7 that it was sent here by mistake for Wye, and that the Wye people have got the Elham bell. ("Church Bells of Kent", J C L Stahlschmidt, 1887)


  • "St Mary the Virgin, Elham, Kent", Cawley, David L (The Ringing World) 9 April 1971
  • Gallery

    Harry Parkes and David Cawley with the old eight bells after removal.
    Photo: David Cawley

    Loading the tenor bell. July 1970.
    Photo: David Cawley

    David Cawley, lowering the tenor bell.
    Photo: David Cawley

    The belfry prior to the restoration of 1970.
    Photo: David Cawley
    Recent Peals
    The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
    2018-11-115040 Grandsire Triples
    2017-10-075024 Kent Treble Bob Major
    1981-12-305040 Grandsire Major
    1980-07-055088 Rutland Surprise Major
    1978-02-185056 Cambridge Surprise Major
    1973-10-065040 Plain Bob Major
    1947-11-185040 Grandsire Triples
    1905-04-245056 London Surprise Major
    Recent Quarter Peals
    The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
    2022-06-191344 Cambridge Surprise Major
    2019-02-231408 Spliced Surprise Major (3m)
    2019-02-161280 Yorkshire Surprise Major
    2018-09-131344 Spliced Surprise Major (4m)
    2018-08-111312 Bristol Surprise Major
    2018-01-271260 Plain Bob Doubles
    2017-11-111260 Plain Bob Doubles
    2017-07-061250 Bristol Surprise Major
    2016-11-111260 Plain Bob Doubles
    2015-11-111280 Plain Bob Doubles
    2015-05-141280 Double Norwich Court Bob Major
    2014-11-011260 Single Oxford Bob Triples
    2014-05-171344 Lessness Surprise Major
    2013-12-281260 Canterbury Pleasure Bob Triples
    2013-11-111260 Single Oxford Bob Triples
    2013-09-111250 Steeple Aston Surprise Major
    2013-06-051344 St Clement's College Bob Major
    2013-02-181260 Stedman Triples
    2012-10-061280 Spliced Surprise Major (5m)
    2012-03-171344 Lincolnshire Surprise Major
    2011-03-161280 Spliced Surprise Major (5m)
    2010-05-201260 Single Oxford Bob Triples
    2009-07-111288 Double Grandsire Triples
    2008-03-291288 Double Grandsire Triples
    2004-09-211288 Little Bob Major
    Full list of peals on Bellboard here
    Full list of quarters on Bellboard here

    Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent Page updated: 1 April 2016