Mottingham, Our Lady Help of Christians

Photo: Dickon R Love, Mar 2008

  • Single bell hung in open gable
  • Tenor: 2-2-3 in E.
  • Grid Ref: TQ424726
  • Denomination: Roman Catholic
    Diocese (RC): Southwark
    Area (RC): London
    Deanery (RC): Bromley

Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
Single Bell 2-2-323½" E 1930 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon (3762) Never



1930 A bell was cast for the carillon at St Paul's Cathedral, Liège in Belgium (no 9) but this was rejected.
1931 A new Roman Catholic church was planned. It was financed by the winnings of a horse race! The Financial Secretary of the Diocese of Southwark was presented with a ticket for the horse "Polly Wolly Soodie". He won £650 which he devoted to the church. Another local Catholic was similarly lucky with the horses and he presented £5,000. [1]
1932 The Crown Lands Commissioners stipulated that the new Roman Catholic church should not have any bell or bells. This was to be a general condition for new churches of any denomination in the area given the residential expansion. [2] [3]
1933 Date on the bell, which was consecrated on 26 March. The bell has the name "BERNADETTE" incised on it. The ban on having a bell was lifted after the Bishop of Pella interceded with the Crown Lands Commissioners. It was noted that the local Anglican church HAD been allowed a bell that year. The church was opened on 5 June 1933 at a ceremony performed by the Bishop of Pella, Mgr W F Brown.
[1] MOTTINGHAM (Kent). Monday The first church in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Southwark to built by successful Irish Sweepstake ticketholders was opened to-day at Mottingham is dedicated Our Lady Help of Christians. The ceremony was performed by the Bishop Pella, Mgr. W. F. Brown. The church has an interesting history. Canon W. Monk, the Financial Secretary the Diocese of Southwark, was presented by an Irish friend with ticket bearing the nom de plume "Polly Wolly Soodie". the title song given at a Catholic reunion. Canon Monk drew a horse, and decided to devote the whole the proceeds, amounting to about £650. to the erection of the church. The wheel fortune turned later for Mr. A. Jeffreys, South London Catholic. Be promised that if was successful substantial amount of his winninsa should presented Canon Monk’s church. He won a large sum, and immediately presented the Diocesan Secretary with £.5,000 for the church. The site was purchased from the Crown Lands authorities. clause was inserted in the agreement that a bell must not used in the new building As the result of subsequent negotiate bs. however. Canon Monk was allowed to ring the bell dunng stipulated hours. (Portsmouth Evening News, 5 June 1933)
[2] A BAN ON BELLS The Crown Lands Commissioners have stipulated, as ground landlords, that in the building of the new Roman Catholic church at Mottingham, Kent, "no church or other bell or bells shall be placed on any part of the premises." "It is simply a precaution necessary in a rapidly eveloping residentual area," explained an official "and the same restriction will be placed on new churches of other denominations." "Many private landowners nowadays as well as the Crown Commissioners, are making it a condition that when new churches are built there shall be no bells." (Liverpool Echo, 13 Dec 1932)
[3] BAN ON CHURCH BELLS CONSIDERING RESIDENTS ON NEW ESTATES A big bell controversy may follow the action the Crown Lands Commissioners in stipulating a ground landlords that in the building of the new Roman Catholic Church at Mottingham, Kent, no church or other bell or bells shall be placed on any part the premises." The Bishop of Pella, Mgr. W. F. Brown, has referred to the clause in the conveyance a “humiliating restriction," but an official at the Crown Office to-day declared that there was no question of discrimination. It is simply a precaution necessary in a rapidly developing residential area,' he said, “and the same restriction will be placed on new churches of other. Many private landowners nowadays as well the Crown Commissioners are making it a condition that when new churches are built there shall be no bells. Many residents on these net estates 'complain strongly against church bells which disturb their peaceful Sundays and they must be considered." Another point of view was put by the Rev. W. Pennington-Bickford. rector of St. Clement Danes, who as guardian of the historic Bells of St. Clement’s," ought to know. In my opinion, "he said, an Anglican church is legally bound to have a bell. I believe it is illegal to hold a canonical service unless the bell is rung.” "Even In country districts,” one church authority said, "church bells have not the significance that they used to have. In spite of the late Archbishop of Canterbury’s view that 'there Is no sound what we can hear more fully charged with the very spirit of English life,’ opinion is divided. "A few years ago the blacksmith of a Derbyshire village went into the church when the bells were ringing and challenged the sexton to 'come out and have a go.' Blows were exchanged outside and the blacksmith was accused of assault. "'I have nothing the sexton.' he said in defence, 'only against the bells. They annoy me'" (Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 13 Dec 1932)

Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent Page updated: 30 March 2020