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Treble 4-2-1427½" E 1754 Thomas Lester, Whiechapel Never 2 5-2-129" D 1754 Thomas Lester, Whiechapel Never 3 5-2-830¾" C 1754 Thomas Lester, Whiechapel Never 4 6-3-1432" B 1754 Thomas Lester, Whiechapel Never 5 8-0-735½" A 1754 Thomas Lester, Whiechapel 2009 Whitechapel Tenor 9-3-1839" G 1842 Thomas Mears II 2009 Whitechapel Clock 3 cwt approx.24¹³⁄₁₆" F 1754 Thomas Lester, Whiechapel Never

Bell Weight
(most recent)*
Diameter Note Date Founder Retuned Fate
Tenor (of 6)11-0-21G1754Lester & PackNeverRecast 1842

* Source of weight figures: Earlier tenor bell

History

1504 Tower built.
1552 Record of 6 bells and a sanctus. [1]
1628 Church rebuilt (except for the lower part which dates from 1584). The new church was 15ft above the old church as shown by a pillar of the old church still standing at the west end adjoining the tower.
c 1650 Record of the 5 bells in the tower and a clock bell in the Churchwardens Accounts. [2]
1651 Various items in the Churchwardens Accounts [3]
1652 4th bell mended. [4]
1653 Tenor mended. [5]
1654 Minor work on the bells. [6]
1655 Record of paid ringing. [7]
1657 An assessment into the repair of the tower was ordered, as well as the provision of a clock and dial. [8]
1658 Legal expenses about repair of steeple; cost of collecting money for repairs. The tower was in decay and the churchwardens were ordered to investigate repairs. [9]
1659 Minute re loan on security of parish property of £400 for repairs of the steeple. [10]
1660 Some major work took place on the bells requiring the bell founder. [11]
1661 It would appear that the bells were weighed in advance of being recast. Committee authorised to contract for the repair of the steeple, the works to be inspected by Peter Mills, the City Surveyor. [12]
1662 Some or all of the bells were recast by Anthony Bartlett. [13]
1666 Church survived the Great Fire.
1677 Record of the 5 bells and a Saints bell. [14]
1708 Record of 5 bells.
1714 Record of 5 bells.
1722 Stow reported that Sir Thomas Audley offered bells from Holy Trinity Priory in exchange for having the church rebuilt nearer the street, but the parishioners refused the offer.
1733 The Rambling ringers (of the College Youths) rang some Grandsire Doubles on the five bells but "the bells were in sutch bad repair that they had mutch ado to make em answer".
1750 Robert Catlin was paid for work in the tower. [15]
1754 The bells were recast into a new ring of six by Lester & Pack. [16]
1775 Survey of tower for repairs ordered. [17]
1776 Firm action was taken to restore the masonry of the tower, including taking down the turret and rebuilding it. [18]
1777 The tower was painted. [19]
1778 The work on the church and tower was billed, totalling £2,251.11s.11¾d. [20]
1804 Faculty obtained for more repairs. [21]
1806 Repairs completed. [22]
1842 Tenor recast by Thomas Mears II. [23]
1911 The bells were rehung for chiming by Mears & Stainbank. [24]
1962 Church restored.
2007 Wheels put on the front 5 allowing them to rung with care. The tenor was given a wheel shortly afterwards and the ringing room moved to the ground floor. An appeal was launched to retune the tenor and rehang all the bells in a new frame.
2009 Bells removed from the tower. The 5th was found to be cracked, so was welded with a bit of additional metal to increase its pitch. This and the tenor were then tuned and all 6 bells hung in a new frame in the tower and dedicated on 18th Dec,
[1] belles hangynge in the Steple greate and smalle Syxe" and a sacring bell (Edwardian Inventory, 1552)
[2] Inventory of goods - In the Steeple, Item 5 bells with all the furniture belonging to them, Item one clocke bell in the vestry with the clocke in the Settle, & ye frame of it at Mr. Pilkington’s [also ladders, fire hooks, buckets etc; (Churchwardens Accounts, not dated but between accounts for 1650 and 1651)
[3] Paid Mr. Gadston for mending the Bells & Wheeles 12s.; Paid for a Bell roape 1s.; Paid ye Ringers on Queene Elizabeth’s Day 1s.; Paid ye Bell hanger for mending the Wheeles 4s (Churchwardens Accounts, 1651)
[4] 4th June. Paid for mending the Ketch of ye 4th Bell 1s.; Paid ye Ringers on ye 5th and 17th of November 7s. 6d.; (Churchwardens Accounts, 1652)
[5] Paid for mending the Great Bell 12s.; Paid for Ringing on the 5th of November 5s. (Churchwardens Accounts, 1653)
[6] Paid for mending the Third bell Wheele & other things about the Bells 8s.6d.; Paid for making a new Ladder and mending the well hole in the Belfry 5s.6d (Churchwardens Accounts, 1654)
[7] Receipts for burials specify the bell used - 2nd bell, 3rd bell, 4th bell, and [in 1656] great bell; Paid for Ringers ye 28th November 3s.; (Churchwardens Accounts, 1655)
[8] [Churchwardens Accounts, 1657] Paid Expences upon the Surveyors of the Steeple at severall times 6s; other references to levy for repair of steeple; [Vestry minutes, 17 Jul 1657} Also ordered that an assessment shalbe made for ye Repaire of ye Steeple wch is dangerously defective and for making a Clock and a Dyall wch are much wanting; ... [illegible] (Vestry minutes)
[9] [Churchwardens Accounts, 1658] Legal expenses about repair of steeple; cost of collecting money for repairs. [Vestry minutes, 1658] Church steeple in decay, order of Parliament obtained for repairs, Churchwardens ordered to rate and assess the parishioners for the estimated cost of repairs (£395); Further minute 11 August 1658, appointing a committee. (Churchwardens Accounts)
[10] Minute re loan on security of parish property of £400 for repairs of the steeple; (Vestry minutes. 14 Mar 1659)
[11] Paide and given to the Ringers (vizt) when the King was Voted heyre apparent iiijs. vjd, when the King was proclaimed 5s, when the King landed ijs vjd, at the Kings comeing through the City 5s, in all 17s; Payments to Adam Bond and Mr. Lingard [steeple repairs?] £35.17.5.; paid the Bell founder for mending the Bells 12s.3d.; (Churchwardens Accounts, 1660)
[12] [Churchwardens Accounts, 1661] Paid and given the Ringers on the Coronation Day 10s.; paid for a New Sett of Bellropes 17s.6d.; paid for weighing the Bells to the Founder and spent 10s.6d.; Paid Lovejoyes wife for making cleane the Church after the Steeple was pulled downe 6d.. [Vestry minutes, 1 Dec 1661] Committee authorised to contract for the repair of the steeple, the works to be inspected by Peter Mills, the City Surveyor. (Churchwardens Accounts)
[13] April - Paid in expence with Mr. Bartlett the Bellfounder, Mr. Burrowes and Clockmaker at the Hoope Tavern the day that the Bells were cast 4s.10d.; Paid for fetching the Bellmettle from Kelkes to the Bellfounders 1s.; Paid the Porter for bringing of the Tinn 6d.; June - paid in expence with the Clockmaker and other workmen 2s.; July - Paid Mr. Mulsho for Soule Leather for the Bells 4s.6d.; August - Paid to the Ringers when the Queene came to Towne 3s.; 1662 Accounts for “The Charge of the Repaire of the Steeple” 1662 - total £656.12.2 in this account, but total cost £848.4.4½. Paid to the Bellhanger £33.10.0.; Paid to the Bellfounder and to Kelke £65.8.8.; Paid for weigheing and bringeing home the belles 10s.; Paid to Hopkins the Carpenter £158.6.0.; Paid to Palmer the Mason £153; Paid to Mr. Bakewell the Clockmaker £40; Paid for Breakfaste and on the 22th day of August Spent upon the Ringers £9.7.6.; Paid to Mr. Brett more than was received of the Inhabitants for the Drincke [?] £4.7.6.; Payment for sundials; Paid to Mr. Brathwayte for Bell mettle £1.16.4.; (Churchwardens Accounts, 1662)
[14] Inventory, 1677 - Five bells and bellroapes, one Saints Bell [same in 1680; 1685-6 Pd Bell Hanger for mending the Wheels of the 4th & Sts. Bell £1.4.0.; account for erecting an organ (Bernard Smith £250) and building a gallery (total £335.11.3); (Churchwardens Accounts, 1677)
[15] Paid Robert Catlin Bellhanger £1.18.6 (Churchwardens Accounts, 3 Jun, 1750)
[16] 1753-4 14 Nov: Thomas Lester Founder for Recasting the 5 Bells & 2 New ones £110.18.0; 1754-5: 22 Nov Paid Doughsell for Ringers at hanging the Bells £1.15.10; 1 May Mr. Jennings his Expences at tuning ye Bells 6s.6d; 16 May Thos. Gable for weights for ye Clock &c £4.7.6.; Receipts - Oct.22 Reced of Mr. Leister Bellfounder 12s. (Churchwardens Accounts, 1753-4 and 1754-5)
[17] Survey to be made of repairs necessary to the church. Mr. Peacock to be employed; (Vestry minutes, 19 Apr 1775)
[18] 12 Apr 1776: Mr. Peacock the surveyor produced an elevation for the intended alteration of the outside of the church and an estimate of the charge of filling up the windows on the south side and of erecting a new Tower & of rebuilding the top of the steeple as far down as the belfry and of repairing the inside of the church. 2 May 1776 Mr. Peacock’s plans laid before the vestry and estimates received. Resolved that the windows on the south side be not stopped up, and that the church, the tower etc be repaired in the manner proposed in the third estimate (£1035). 31 May 1776 Proposals received from various workmen, all listed (along with "agreed with" against individual names). 12 June 1776 Agreements executed. Mr. Peacock reported that he had yesterday surveyed the Turret & found it in a much worse condition than he apprehended the committee expected the same to be, & that the said turret is so far decayed as to be incapable of repair, and that he had already delivered an estimate for a new one to be erected according to a design given which amounted to £50. Agreed that the old turret be taken down and a new one erected and that a design of a turret plainer than that already drawn and given by Mr. Peacock be prepared by him with an estimate of the expence. 24 Jun 1776 Minutes re repairs to the great painted window, repairs to the battlements (Mr. Turberville, mason); [further minutes re repairs and progress, including mention of Mr. Mountague the surveyor (assistant to Mr. Peacock). 17 Jun 1776 Agreed (among other things) to take down the battlements around every part of the church & work up new Portland stone ashlar ... with Portland coping, and to erect a new turret to a design given and signed by the two Churchwardens. (Vestry minutes, 1776)
[19] Surveyor recommended the painting of the tower which "will very greatly preserve the same". Agreed that the workmen painting the church should "paint the said Tower completely four times", Mr. Turberville to provide proper scaffolding; (Vestry minutes, 5 Jun 1777)
[20] Accounts for the work on the church under Mr. Peacock approved [itemised in the minutes], total £2251.11s.11¾d (Vestry minutes, 19 Mar 1778)
[21] Faculty to be obtained for repairs, which were to be superintended by Mr. Bridger (and not by a surveyor employed for the purpose. (Vestry minutes, 7 May 1804)
[22] Completion of repairs, and passing of accounts (giving names of individuals, their trade and the value of their work), total £3233.1.4., and extras of £278.3.1 (including £32.12.0 to Mr. Raymond, the clockmaker); [no mention of work on bells by John Wooding]. (Vestry minutes, 18 Sep 1806)
[23] To: A bell C 10-1-23 £73-3-9, Rehanging etc. £13-0-0, total £86-3-9; By Old bell C11-0-21 £52-4-2, net total £33-19-7; Providing and fixing a new set of supporting ironwork, new Chiming hammer, Clock hammer with springs & supports, cleaning & refitting the bell, £8-8-0. ( Whitechapel Daybook 7th Nov)
[24] 7 Jul 1911 (257), The Ch: Wardens St Catherine Cree, Leadenhall St (pr J Sparks & Son Builders 12 King St, Minories E), To lifting the Clock Bell, Providing and fixing a new set of supporting ironwork, new Chiming hammer, Clock hammer with spring & supports, cleaning & refitting the bell, £8-8-0; Daybook 8 September 1911. To lifting out the six bells, turning them, and adapting headstocks to suit the cannons, fitting new supporting ironwork, new ends to the old clappers, new leathers and bolts, and replacing the bells in their old bearings for chiming, including bell hangers time and journeys, use of tackle also adjusting the rollers and cleaning the Bells with wire brushes, £29 - -. The Churchwns S Katharine Cree L'hall St (Whitechapel Daybook)

Articles

  • "The Lost Bells of London (7) Other City Churches", Cook, William T (The Ringing World) 23 February 1973
  • "Maids in White Aprons say the Bells of St Katharine's!", Royalton-Kisch, Michael F (The Ringing World) 14 March 2008
  • "St Katharine’s wheels peal at Cree", Vracas, Philip (The Ringing World) 16 March 2012
  • The church


    An old engraving.
    Photo:

    Pictures from 2007 before the restoration


    In 2007 when Michael Royalton-Kisch and Dickon Love inspected the belfry, they made the following observations the ultimately led to their restoration in 2009. Here the 2nd is shown. Grooves in the frame below permit the bell to swing. The tower is very
    Photo: Christopher J Pickford

    More grooves in the frame to allow the bell to clear.
    Photo: Christopher J Pickford

    The treble.
    Photo: Christopher J Pickford

    The treble.
    Photo: Christopher J Pickford

    The disused clock bell in the cupola at the top of the tower.
    Photo:

    The ceiling of the former (upstairs) ringing room.
    Photo:

    Michael Royalton-Kisch rings up the treble on the headstock.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 25 Jan 2007

    The view from above. Clockwise, the bells are 5th, 4th, 2nd and 3rd.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 25 Jan 2007

    Coat hooks in the former ringing room.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 25 Jan 2007

    The 5th bell.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 25 Jan 2007

    Pictures from the restoration in 2009


    The bells were removed from the tower in March 2009 and sent to Whitechapel. The 6 bells are here on the floor of the church.
    Photo: Neil Thomas

    On 25th March 2009, HM The Queen and Prince Philip visited the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. They are pictured here with the assembled Cree frame.
    Photo: Neil Thomas, 25 Mar 2009


    Photo: Neil Thomas, 25 Mar 2009

    At Whitechapel, the 5th was found to be cracked. The crack can be seen here in the crown, accentuated by oil that flowed through it during drilling.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 9 Mar 2009

    All except the 4th standing on the foundry floor. The tenor is at the rear right. The bell rear left is not a Cree bell.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 9 Mar 2009

    The rolled steel segments for the new canon-retaining headstocks.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 9 Mar 2009

    The 4th upturned having its crown drilled.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 9 Mar 2009

    Pieces of the disassembled framesides.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 9 Mar 2009

    The 5th.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 9 Mar 2009

    The blessing of the bells on 22 July 2009


    The bells were blessed on the floor of the nave on 22nd July, 2009.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 22 July, 2009


    Photo: Dickon R Love, 22 July, 2009


    Photo: Dickon R Love, 22 July, 2009


    Photo: Dickon R Love, 22 July, 2009


    Photo: Dickon R Love, 22 July, 2009


    Photo: Dickon R Love, 22 July, 2009

    Michael Royalton-Kisch (Tower Captain) and his mother at the Dedication.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 22 July, 2009

    Curiously each of the bells has a different design in its inscription band border, shown here.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 22 July, 2009


    Photo: Dickon R Love, 22 July, 2009


    Photo: Dickon R Love, 22 July, 2009

    Framesides: old ones on their way out, new ones on their way in.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 22 July, 2009
    Recent Peals
    The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
    2019-09-155056 Coniston Bluebird Delight Major
    2019-09-155088 80th Birthday Delight Major
    2019-09-155040 Cambridge Surprise Royal
    2019-09-155032 Vorlus-Snorlus Alliance Major
    2019-09-155040 London No 3 Surprise Royal
    2019-09-155007 Stedman Cinques
    2019-09-155950 Stedman Cinques
    2019-09-155040 Gillett Alliance Major
    2019-09-145040 Cambridge Surprise Royal
    2019-09-145019 Stedman Caters
    2019-09-145152 Yorkshire Surprise Major
    2019-09-145088 Bristol Surprise Maximus
    2019-09-145040 Cambridge Surprise Maximus
    2019-09-145148 Spliced Maximus (8 Methods)
    2019-09-145040 Spliced Surprise Minor
    2019-09-145120 Spliced Surprise Major
    2019-09-145000 Bristol Surprise Royal
    2019-09-145184 Spliced Surprise Major (2m)
    2019-09-145056 Plain Bob Major
    2019-09-145040 Cambridge Surprise Royal
    2019-09-145040 Cambridge Surprise Royal
    2019-09-145088 Lessness Surprise Major
    2019-09-145040 Grandsire Triples
    2019-09-145040 Doubles (three Methods)
    2019-09-145160 Bristol Surprise Royal
    Recent Quarter Peals
    The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
    2019-09-151260 Grandsire Triples
    2019-09-151296 Carlisle Surprise Minor
    2019-09-151296 Cambridge Surprise Minor
    2019-09-151260 Doubles (3m)
    2019-09-151344 Little Bob Major
    2019-09-151260 Doubles (5 M/V)
    2019-09-151280 Yorkshire Surprise Major
    2019-09-151320 Spliced Surprise Royal (4m)
    2019-09-151320 Plain Bob Doubles
    2019-09-151260 Doubles
    2019-09-151344 Lessness Surprise Major
    2019-09-151344 Plain Bob Major
    2019-09-151260 Grandsire Doubles
    2019-09-151296 Cambridge Surprise Minor
    2019-09-151320 Treble Dodging Minor
    2019-09-151260 Plain Bob Triples
    2019-09-151260 Grandsire Triples
    2019-09-151250 Yorkshire Surprise Major
    2019-09-151260 Chilham Treble Place Doubles
    2019-09-151270 Doubles
    2019-09-151264 Plain Bob Major
    2019-09-151295 Plain Bob Minor
    2019-09-151260 Plain Bob Triples
    2019-09-151260 St Simon's Bob Triples
    2019-09-151274 Minor (2m)
    Full list of peals here
    Full list of quarters here

    Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent Page updated: 16 September 2019