Goudhurst, St Mary the Virgin

Photo: Dickon R Love

  • 8 bells hung for full circle ringing
  • Tenor: 23¾ cwt approx. in D
  • Grid Ref: TQ723378
  • Rung from: Glazed Gallery
  • Frame: Timber frame, strengthened with metal components in 1907 by Gillett & Johnston and again 1934 by Mears & Stainbank.
  • Denomination: Church of England
  • Diocese (Anglican): Canterbury
  • Archdeaconry (Anglican): Maidstone
  • Kent County Association of Change Ringers District: Tonbridge
  • Building Listed Grade: I Click for Heritage details.
  • Peals rung at the tower (Felstead Database)

  • Details of the Bells

    Bell Weight
    (most recent)

    (As dispatched 1934)

    (Prior to 1934)
    Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
    ® Treble 5½ cwt approx. 5-3-23 6-0-8 30½" D 1775 Pack & Chapman, Whitechapel Removed 1934 Mears & Stainbank
    ® 2 6 cwt approx. 6-1-17 6-2-26 32" C♯ 1834 Thomas Mears II Removed 1934 Mears & Stainbank
    ® 3 7¾ cwt approx. 7-0-14 33" B 1776 Pack & Chapman, Whitechapel Removed Never
    ® 4 8 cwt approx. 8-1-26 8-3-2 37" A 1805 Thomas Mears & Son Removed 1934 Mears & Stainbank
    ® 5 9¾ cwt approx. 10-1-18 10-2-26 39½" G 1707 Richard Phelps, Whitechapel Removed 1934 Mears & Stainbank
    ® 6 11¾ cwt approx. 12-1-20 12-2-4 42" F♯ 1707 Richard Phelps, Whitechapel Removed 1934 Mears & Stainbank
    ® 7 16¼ cwt approx. 17-1-8 17-2-18 46¾" E 1707 Richard Phelps, Whitechapel Removed 1934 Mears & Stainbank
    ® Tenor 23¾ cwt approx. 25-0-5 25-2-23 52½" D 1834 Thomas Mears II Removed 1934 Mears & Stainbank

    ® - Hung for full circle ringing

    Inscriptions on the Bells

    From the 1707 ring of six

    Bell Date Founder Retuned Fate
    Treble 1707 Richard Phelps Never Recast in 1776
    2nd 1707 Richard Phelps Never Recast in 1805
    Tenor 1707 Richard Phelps Never Recast in 1834
    Prior to 1834

    Bell Date Founder Retuned Fate
    2nd 1775 Pack & Chapman Never Recast in 1834
    History

    1637 On Wed 23 Aug the "very tall" spire that was on top of the church was struck by lightning that caused a fire that melted the 5 bells that were reported to be in the tower. [1]
    1638 The tower was rebuilt after the fire but only up to a certain height in stone as funds ran out. The tower was topped with a wooden top set upon the stonework in which a single "great bell" was hung. This single bell was still there in 1659.
    1690 3rd (of 6) cast.
    1697 4th (of 6) cast.
    1707 A new ring of 6 was cast by Richard Phelps.
    1775 2 trebles were added by Pack & Chapman to make 8.
    1776 3rd recast by Pack & Chapman.
    1805 4th recast by Thomas Mears.
    1834 2nd and tenor recast by Thomas Mears.
    1907 The bellframe was strengthened with wrought iron components. The bells were quarter turned and rehung with new bearings, headstocks and wheels. The work was done by Gillett & Johnston. The cost of the work was£375. The parish declared that it was now the turn of the ringers to set their house in order and organise themselves. They therefore joined the Kent County Association of Change Ringers. [2] [3]
    1934 The bells were retuned (apart from the 3rd) and rehung by Mears & Stainbank, The restoration cost £300 and a service of thanksgiving was held on Sunday 6 May 1934, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Newspaper references at the time suggested that a new frame was provided by Mears & Stainbank, but the frame doesn't appear to be new from that date, and it is more likely that a major rennovation of the frame took place. [4] [5]
    1972 The canons were removed and the bells were rehung in the existing frame by Whitechapel. Since all the work took place in the tower, the bells were never reweighed, hence the approximate weights given for all the bells.

    [1] The Church standeth in the Hundred of Marden, & was called St. Maries, (which Church is very large, standeth upon avery highhill, and had to the same a very large, & tall spire or shaft; but upon Wednesday the 23. day of August 1637 (about eleven of the clock at night) there happened a most fierce, and sudden storme of thunder, and lightning, which set on fire the said steeple, and broke, and melted five great bels in the same, and burnt, and consumed foure lofts, and all the timber and woodwork of the steeple, and the stonework of the same was thereby so shaken and rent, that it was faine afterwards to be pulled down, and the Church, and leads, by fall of the timber, was much impaired. In the year following a collection (by way of Brief) was in this, and severall other Counties (for repaire of this mishap) and a parish tax also made for that purpose, and the foundation of the steeple begun anew of stone (almost up to the Roofe of the Church) but (by the falsity of the Collectors abroad, and dissention of the inhabitants at home) the worke went no further (onely a small low wooden top is set upon the stone-work, and one great Bell onely hung there, and so it now remaineth.' ('A topographie or survey of the county of Kent with some chronological, historicall, and other matters touching the same, and the several parishes and places therein, Kilburne, Richard, 1659)
    [2] NEW CHURCH BELLS AT GOUDHURST. The bells at Goudhurst Church have just been thoroughly restored by Messrs. Gillett and Johnson (sic), the well-known bell founders, of Croydon. The frame containing the bells having become very unsafe, it was found necessary to strengthen it by means of cross beams and struts and massive wrought iron angle plates. All the bells have been "quarter turned," so that the clappers strike on a fresh and unworn surface, thus minimising the risk of cracking. They have also been provided with all new gun-metal bearings, elm stocks, oak wheels, etc. The bells are now in perfect ringing order, and when pealed for the first time gave great satistaction to the ringers, who pronounced the "go" of them excellent. Messrs. Gillett and Johnston have recently restored the bells of Chelsfield, Shoreham, Mereworth, East Peckham, Oxted, and Lenham parish churches as well as others in the district.' ('Folkestone Express, Sandgate, Shorncliffe & Hythe Advertiser, Wed 17 Apr 1907)
    [3] A meeting, convened by the Vicar and the Churchwardens, was held on Wednesday evening, at the Parish Room, to make arrangements to enable the Goudhurst Ringers to join the Kent County Association of Change Ringers. [snip] He (the speaker) got up a little bazaar, and wrote a good many letters, and succeeded in getting money for the object, enough to have the belfry strengthened in a most efficient manner, and the bells re-hung and rendered fit to be rung, and capable of having those wonderful "changes".' (' Kent & Sussex Courier, Fri 3 May 1907)
    [4] GOUDHURST. REPAIRS TO BELLS. - Three tenders for hte repair of the bells at the Parish Church were considered at a meeting of the Church Council at the Parish Room on Monday. The Rev. H. G. South presided. The tender of Messrs. Meers and Stainbank to re-hang the bells in a new wooden frame at a cost of about £300 was accepted, and the matter was left in the hands of the Finance Committee. It was feared that an undue strain would be placed on the masonry of the belfry if a metal frame were adopted.' ('Kent & Sussex Courier, Fri 12 Jan 1934)
    [5] ARCHBISHOP DEDICATES GOUDHURST BELLS. RESTORED TO CHURCH TOWER AT COST OF £300. "Yout may well be proud of this peal of eight bells your forefathers haven given you," said the Archbishop of Canterbury when he visited Goudhurst on Sunday for the service of dedicagtion and thanksgiving for the restoration of the bells of the Parish Church. ... The Goudhurst Church bells, which are a very fine peal of eight, have been repaired and rehung at an inclusive cost of about £300. More than that amount had been raised by voluntary subscription before the bells were returned from the foundry.' (' Kent & Sussex Courier, Fri 11 May 1934)
    Literary collection

  • "Article on Goudhurst Bells and their Ringers", Unattributed (Kent & Sussex Courier) 3 May 1907
  • Pictures of the belfry


    Richard Steele, May 2022
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    Richard Steele, May 2022
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    Richard Steele, May 2022
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    Richard Steele, May 2022
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    Richard Steele, May 2022
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    Richard Steele, May 2022
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    Richard Steele, May 2022
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    Richard Steele, May 2022
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    Richard Steele, May 2022
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    Richard Steele, May 2022
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    Richard Steele, May 2022
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    Richard Steele, May 2022
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    Richard Steele, May 2022
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    Richard Steele, May 2022
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    Richard Steele, May 2022
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    Richard Steele, May 2022
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    Richard Steele, May 2022
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    Richard Steele, May 2022
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    Peal boards

    Timber Performance Board dated approx. 1933

  • Feb 1933: 5040 Stedman Triples

  • Photo: Richard Steele, 1 May 2022

    Framed card Bell/Restoration Detail Board dated approx. 1907


    Photo: Richard Steele, 1 May 2022

    Framed card Performance Board dated 2002


    Photo: Richard Steele, 1 May 2022

    Framed card Performance Board dated 2000


    Photo: Richard Steele, 1 May 2022


    Page updated: 8 June 2022