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Treble 7-3-930⅞" F 1878 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Never 2 8-2-2032½" E♭ 1878 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Never 3 9-1-634" D 1878 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Never 4 11-0-936 5/16" C 1878 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Never 5 12-2-938 9/16" B♭ 1878 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Never 6 12-2-2439 9/16" A 1878 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Never 7 15-3-843⅛" G 1878 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Never 8 21-1-1247 11/16" F 1878 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Never 9 27-0-1653⅜" E♭ 1878 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Never 10 29-2-355" D 1878 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Never 11 42-3-761½" C 1878 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Never Tenor 61-2-268⅞" B♭ 1878 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Never The Banger 18-2-2649⅝" C 1700 Philip Wightman, Clerkenwell Never Quarter 1 12-2-941" A♭ 1707 Richard Phelps, Whitechapel Never Quarter 2 24-2-2658" E♭ 1707 Richard Phelps, Whitechapel Never Great Tom 102-1-2282⅝" A♭ 1716 Richard Phelps, Whitechapel Never Great Paul 334-2-19116¾" E♭ 1881 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Never

History

1087 The building of St Paul's Cathedral began.
1222 A central tower and spire was built rising to a height of 520 feet. 5 bells were placed in the tower.
1240 The building was largely completed.
c 1350 In the 14th century, a separate bell tower was built on the north-east side of the cathedral and was equipped with 4 bells.
c 1450 In the 15th century the bell tower was pulled down and the bells were scrapped.
1552 Record of 5 bells in the tower. [1]
1561 On 4 June, the spire was struck by lightning, destroying the bells. The spire was never rebuilt nor the bells replaced, the Dean and Chapter rather relying on a single bell.
1666 The Great Fire of London damaged St Paul's so much, it could not be restored. The fire also probably destroyed any bells that were there.
1675 The foundation stone of the new St Paul's Cathedral was laid on 21 June.
1698 William III gave the tower and bells from St Stephen's Chapel in the Palace of Westminster to St Paul's. The largest, originally called "Edward of Westminster" later became known as "Great Tom" or "Westminster Tom". It weighed 82-2-21.
1699 Great Tom cracked after it fell off its carriage en route to St Paul's.
1700 A bell was cast by Philip Wightman and hung in the North West tower.
1707 Two quarter bells were cast by Richard Phelps. A contract (dated 15th Nov. 1706) was made with Phelps and the clockmaker Langley Bradley.
1708 Great Tom was recast by Philip Wightman and hung as the hour bell in the South West Tower. It weighed 73 cwt approx.
1709 The casting of Great Tom was a failure, and it was recast by Richard Phelps. The old bell was 82-2-11. The new bell was 96cwt approx.
1716 This casting of Great Tom had also failed, so it was recast again by Richard Phelps.
1717 Walters states that the quarter jacks were recast by Richard Phelps, however this seems unlikely given that they bear the date "1707" (info to be confirmed by a site visit). Walters estimated the bells to be 13cwt and 35cwt approx.
1878 A ring of 12 bells was cast and hung in the North West tower by John Taylor & Co. The new ring of 12 was opened by the Ancient Society of College Youths on 1 November.
1881 Great Paul was cast by John Taylor & Co. and was at the time (and until 2012) the largest bell in the country. It was originally hung with a wooden headstock. There were four ropes on the, two each side, falling behind each other in each case. Two were fitted at the top of the wheel and two at the usual place; the former were drawn out to clear the others.
1882 Great Paul was rung for the first time (in Loughborough) on 18 March, and dedicated on 3 June.
1891 Great Paul was rehung on a new headstock. A wooden wheel was supplied to replace the levers in use previously, and the bell and frame were moved higher in the tower to make room for the new clock. John Taylor supplied the headstock and the wheel.
1971 Great Paul was fitted with the present two iron wheels. They and the motors were supplied by Breviet-Mamias of Gagny, France (subcontraced by John Taylor).
2000 Restoration work took place on the frame and fittings by Whites of Appleton. In the course of this work, the bells were weighed in the belfry.
2018 A major restoration of the bells took place by John Taylor & Co, who transported them to Loughborough for cleaning and refitting, but not tuning. The frame was strengthened as part of this work.
[1] Item in the Steeple of belles in number five. (Edwardian Inventory, 1552)

Articles

  • "Great Paul", Collins, Frederick E (The Ringing World) 7 May 1971
  • "The Story of Great Paul Pt 1", Cook, William T (The Ringing World) 14 January 1972
  • "The Story of Great Paul Pt 2", Cook, William T (The Ringing World) 21 January 1972
  • "The Story of Great Paul Pt 3", Cook, William T (The Ringing World) 28 January 1972
  • "Great Paul", Cook, William T (The Ringing World) 31 March 1972
  • "Centenary of St Paul's Bells", Cook, William T (The Ringing World) 3 November 1978
  • "Waiting to release their twelve-voiced power", Editor, based on Pocock, Tom (The Ringing World) 8 June 1984
  • "St Paul's Cathedral Bells - 2000 a special year", Regan, Mark (The Ringing World) 7 April 2000
  • "St Paul's Cathedral Bells Restored", Chilcott, Michael V (The Ringing World) 22 December 2000
  • "St Paul's under wraps", Carless, Paul L (The Ringing World) 12 March 2004
  • "Great Tom of Westminster", Ridley, Christopher (The Ringing World) 17 September 2004
  • "Women's peal at St Paul's Cathedral", Roger, Philip (The Ringing World) 17 August 2012
  • Engravings of the old cathedral


    The spired campanile on the north east side of the old cathedral.
    Photo: ASCY archive

    The spire was destroyed by lightning in 1561 leaving the stub illustrated here.
    Photo: ASCY archive


    Photo: ASCY archive


    Photo: ASCY archive

    1916 engraving representing Old St Paul's as it appeared prior to 1561, with intact spire.
    Photo: ASCY archive

    An illustration of the cathedral with its 150m spire.
    Photo: ASCY archive

    The whole cathedral was destroyed in 1666.
    Photo: ASCY archive

    Old drawings and photographs of the bells


    The tenor bell about to be hoisted into the tower.
    Photo: ASCY archive

    1.- Entrance to the Belfry. 2.- Back View of the Apostles. 3.-Daylight at Last. 4.- A Side Peep going up. 5.- The Bells. Montage entitled: INAUGURATION OF THE NEW PEAL OF BELLS AT ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL
    Photo: The Pictorial World 9 Nov 1878 (ASCY archive)

    Great Paul.
    Photo: Hulton archive

    Great Paul on its way to the Cathedral, carried on a steam trailer.
    Photo: ASCY archive.

    An engraving of the original "Great Tom of Westminster". This was given to St Paul's Cathedral in 1698 by William III. It used to be known as "Edward of Westminster" and weighed 82-2-21. Great Tom itself is virtually inaccessible and impossible to photogr
    Photo: ASCY archive

    Great Paul on its headstock.
    Photo: Jim Hedgcock Collection

    Tolling the Great Bell of St Paul's for the death of the Duke of Albany
    Photo: The Illustrated London News, 5 Apr 1884

    Boring for the Clapper-bolt in Great Paul from the inside and outside.
    Photo: "The Graphic", 20 May 1882: "GREAT PAUL:" THE NEW BELL FOR ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL

    The Removal of Great Paul: Leaving Loughborough for London.
    Photo: "The Graphic", 20 May 1882: "GREAT PAUL:" THE NEW BELL FOR ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL

    Great Paul.
    Photo: "The Graphic", 27May, 1882

    Testing the Great Bell for St. Paul's Cathedral, at Messrs. Taylor and Sons' Factory, Loughborough
    Photo: "The Illustrated London News" - front cover14 Jan 1882.

    Photographs of the NE belfry in 2006


    The "Banger" in a frame above the ring of 12. This was the original bell at St Paul's.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 7 May 2006

    The 9th, donated by the Fishmongers' Company.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 7 May 2006

    The 8th, donated by the Merchant Taylors' Company
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 7 May 2006

    The name of the Prime Warden of the Fishmongers' Company appears on the bell.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 7 May 2006

    A view across the belfry. The 9th is in the foreground
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 7 May 2006

    The 11th, donated by the Grocers' Company.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 7 May 2006

    The treble and 2nd, donated by the Drapers' Company.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 7 May 2006

    The name of the Master of the Merchant Taylors' Company appears on the bell.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 7 May 2006

    The 3rd, donated by the Turners' Company.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 7 May 2006

    The 7th, donated by the Salters' Company.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 7 May 2006

    A view across the belfry with the tenor at the back
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 7 May 2006


    Photo: Dickon R Love, 7 May 2006

    Photographs of the SE belfry


    Notoriously difficult to photograph, Great Paul swings in its massive wooden frame, barely contained by the tower.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, Mar 2000


    Photo: Dickon R Love, Mar 2000

    The bulky headstock that attaches the bell to the wheel and bearings.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, Mar 2000

    Inside Great Paul.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, Mar 2000

    Great Paul used to be swung by two ringers, one in a pit under each side of the bell. Jim Phillips, then Secretary of the St Paul's Guild, demonstrates how this was done.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, Mar 2000

    This is about the best I could do to photograph the quarter jacks in 2000. One is clearly visible from the ceiling. The other is hidden behind the grating, which at the time was inaccessible. Hopefully some better photographs will be obtained in the futur
    Photo:

    The Dean of St Paul's, Dr John Moses, demonstrates how huge this bell really is. It swings at 1pm every day. While it is the largest bell in the country, it is by no means the loudest, and from outside the cathedral it rumbles quietly inside.
    Photo: ASCY archive

    Photograph of the quarter jacks taken c.1960 with the lip of Great Tom seen above them.
    Photo:
    Recent Peals
    The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
    2019-11-195040 Pontefract Surprise Royal
    2019-11-195024 Vicissitudinous Delight Major
    2019-11-195040 Spliced Surprise Minor (22m)
    2019-11-195088 Danesburgh Surprise Major
    2019-11-195005 Stedman Caters
    2019-11-195088 Falmouth Surprise Major
    2019-11-185040 Avon Delight Maximus
    2019-11-185024 Yate Delight Major
    2019-11-185040 Surprise Minor
    2019-11-185040 Surprise Minor (7m)
    2019-11-175004 Stedman Caters
    2019-11-175040 Grandsire Triples
    2019-11-175040 Spliced Surprise Minor (41m)
    2019-11-1710240 Spliced Surprise Major (40m)
    2019-11-175184 Ytterbium Surprise Major
    2019-11-175088 Yorkshire Surprise Major
    2019-11-175152 Cambridge Surprise Major
    2019-11-175002 Triton Delight Royal
    2019-11-175130 Grandsire Caters
    2019-11-175040 London No 3 Surprise Royal
    2019-11-175088 Yorkshire Surprise Major
    2019-11-175152 Barnes Surprise Major
    2019-11-175152 Turramurra Surprise Major
    2019-11-175100 Centennial Alliance Major
    2019-11-175040 Cambridge Surprise Minor
    Recent Quarter Peals
    The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
    2019-11-191296 Cambridge Surprise Minor
    2019-11-191272 Kingston Treble Bob Minor
    2019-11-191280 Mixed Doubles
    2019-11-191320 Arley Surprise Minor
    2019-11-191260 Plain Bob Minor
    2019-11-191282 Woodspring Surprise Royal
    2019-11-191320 King Edward Surprise Minor
    2019-11-191260 Minor (3m)
    2019-11-191320 Danbury Delight Minor
    2019-11-191296 Hitcham Delight Minor
    2019-11-191260 Grandsire Doubles
    2019-11-191280 Bristol Surprise Major
    2019-11-191344 Plain Bob Major
    2019-11-191260 St Clement's College Bob Minor
    2019-11-191280 Spliced Minor
    2019-11-191260 Doubles
    2019-11-191280 Ealing Surprise Major
    2019-11-191344 Plain Bob Major
    2019-11-181280 Yorkshire Surprise Major
    2019-11-181260 Plain Bob Minor
    2019-11-181296 Cambridge Surprise Minor
    2019-11-181260 Doubles (2m)
    2019-11-181260 St Simon's Bob Doubles
    2019-11-181259 Grandsire Caters
    2019-11-181280 Painswick Surprise 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: 19 November 2019