Broadwater Down

Broadwater Down, St Mark

Photo: Dickon Love, Jan 2005

  • 1 bell hung for full circle ringing but now automated
  • Tenor: 11-1-26 in G♯.
  • Grid Ref: TQ576375
  • Rung from: Ground Floor
  • Frame: 1866 George Mears & Co. made for 5 bells, but adapted in 1897 into one for 4 bells.
  • Denomination: Church of England
    Diocese (Anglican): Rochester

    Sound clip of the single bell.(Dickon R Love, 29 Jan 2005)

Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
® Single bell 11-1-2639½" G♯ 1897 John Taylor & Co., Loughborough Never

®  - Hung for full circle ringing


How the bells are tuned

Prior to 1897

Bell Weight
(most recent)

(Supplied weight in 1866)
Single bell6-2-246-3-233½"1866George Mears & Co.NeverRecast 1897


1864 The first stone of the church was laid on 20 Oct. Funding was provided by the Earl of Abergavenny and built to the design of R L Roumieu. [1]
1866 The church was opened on 21 Aug. A bell was supplied by Mears as a "New Tenor of 5" of 6-3-2 and 34", hung in a new timber frame for 5 bells. [2]
1897 The bell was recast into a heavier bell by John Taylor. In enlarging the pit to accommodate this bell, the number of empty pits was reduced to 3.
1908 Prompted by the church organist, noted musicologist and bell expert William Wooding Starmer, who had a very close relationship with the Taylors at Loughborough, requests for quotations for a new ring of 8 with the existing bell as the tenor and then later for a three octave carillon with a bass bell of 38 cwt. Neither of these proposals went ahead. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]
1918 With the Great War over, the parish considered various options to commemorate victory and those who had died, once again led by W W Starmer. Three options discussed were a new ring of 8, a chime of 8 played by a clavier, and a full 3 octave 37 bell carillon. [9] [10]
1919 The idea for a new carillon was the one taken forward and fundraising began. Sadly the parish was unable to raise the funds, and in the end, nothing further was done in the belfry. [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18]
2016 The single bell, which was converted from full circle ringing to automated ringing.
[1] On Wednesday week, at Tunbridge Wells, the foundation of a new church, named St. Mark's, Broadwater Down, was laid by the Countess of Abergavenny. The entire cost of the edifice will be borne by the Earl. (Illustrated London News, Sat 29 Oct 1864)
[2] On Tuesday the Bishop of Chichester consecrated the church of St. Mark, Tonbridge Wells, erected at the cost of the Earl of Abergavenny on Broadwater-down. It is principally built of native stone, quarried out of the earl's estate, a new quarry having been opened for the purpose. The church is cruciform in plan, with a tower for bells at the north-west angle, crowned by an octagonal spire, the whole being 132 feet high, and the length of the church 124 feet by a width across the transepts of 76 feet. (John Bull, Sat 25 Aug 1866)
[3] As to the S. Mark's belfry I am very pleased to hear that it is now proposed to go in for the complete peal. The existing wood frame was made originally for five bells but intended for a peal with a much smaller tenor than the existing bell. The old bell which we took out was only 2'-9½ dia. and I think this was intended to be the tenor & the frame for the five was made according but the present bell is 3'-1½" diameter and the frame is much too small & too weakto receive a peal to this bell. What I should recommend especially as the space is so limited would be to takeout all the exsiting timber & to put in instead a new iron frame on steel girders- The estimate would be as following. Seven new bells to complete the ring of eight with the existing bell to compelte the ring of eight with the existing bell as the tenor, the seven to weigh together about 25 cwts. at £6.13d ... 232-15-0. New fittings for the seven bells - the requisite alterations to the fittings of the tenor bell. New iron H frame & girders for the eight. Also carriage and fixing but exclusion of masons work or work to floors or clock ... 210-0-0. [Total] £442-15-0. Inscriptions [?] per letter. My estimates in '97 were I find only with reference to Cambridge quarter chimes and hour. Hopeing to hear in due course that the scheme is likely to go forward. (Letter from Taylors to W W Starmer, T1040 Letterbooks, Volume 170, pp. 532-534, 2 Mar, 1908)
[4] Re St Mark's: If you could get a carillon that would be immense, and the inhabitants in the vicinity would have no grounds for cheat of the long peal enthusiasts. Three octaves chromatic would do fine with present bell as tenor, or could go a note lower if you like. (Letter from Denison Taylor to W W Starmer, T1041 Letterbooks, Volume 170, pp. 728-729, 13 Mar 1908)
[5] I cannot help but think that a carillon is the best thing for St Mark's. Though of course you could not undertake to play it regularly yet I am sure you have plenty of people about you who would make excellent performers under your supervision. The estimate will be as follows:- Twenty four of the smallest bells to weigh about 12 cwt at £8.1s.0 per cwt 96.12.0. Ten largest bells 38 cwt at £7.0.0 per cwt 266.0.0. [Total] 362.12.0. Fittings, oak framework, clappers, clavier, carriage and fixing. 193.0.0. [Grand Total] £555.12.0. Inscriptions at 4d per letter. I do not know whether the clock would be in the way of getting the bells up but in any case it would not be much to move it and I expect you would soon have the Guildford Chimes attached. You will no doubt notice that if one larger bell and the B flat were added you would practically have the Bournville Carillon. (Letter from John Taylor to W W Starmer, T1042 Letterbooks, Volume 170, pp. 532-534, 19 Mar 1908)
[6] If the other three semitones in the lower octave are omitted the cost will be reduced by £80-10-0. The clavier would of course be made for the three octaves chromatic and we should arrange the frame with the view of hanging the five bells. (Letter from John Taylor to W W Starmer, T1044 Letterbooks, Volume 170, p. 806, 21 Mar 1908)
[7] As to the carillon for St Marks - It is the same thing I am constantly meeting with in connection with bells. People know so little about them and about the different ways in which they can and should be treated. A ringing peal there would probably be a nuisance, but it is just the place for a caillon. I do hope there will be another meeting at which you can be present to explain the totally different conditions and effects. A carillon could not possible be an annoyance were to those living nearest the church and the bells would never be used for the length of time that ordinary ringing bells are. Of course none of those present would know what amount of sound is produced from a carillon by conclude tha tthe effect will be just the same as witha ringing peal.It will be the greatest of pities if the scehem is not carried through. Under your guidance I am sure the bells would in a short time be used in such a manner that they would be a delight to everyone. There is not liekly to be such an opporunity again. Even if someone had the bells there would not be any one to show them how to perform on them properly. Can you suggest the Vicar & Churchwardens should come to Loughborough? I think they would at once appreciate the difference and come to the conclusion that the proposed carillon would not be a nuisance to anybody. Either Denison or myself would only be too pleasedto come to see the Vicar and Churchwardens if you think it would do any good but it would I believe be better if they would come to Loughborough. I am sorry to say that Denisons arm does not get on at all as quickly as we wish and am afraid there must be an operation. (Letter from John Taylor to W W Starmer, 1 Jul 1908)
[8] I hope your Vicar will soon be able to take up the carillon question again. (Letter from John Taylor to W W Starmer, T1058 Letterbooks, Volume 172, p. 185, 14 Jul 1908)
[9] Now for the news. The Vicar specially wishes as a War Memorial a carillon in St Marks tower. His wife is now at work getting subscriptions. I shall specify 3 octaves chromatic. We must have the lowest bell F and if funds will permit Eb. Then there will be quarter chimes for the clock after the carillon and clavier and probably 8 hung for ringing. The project is no suggestion of mine but absolutely from the Vicar, but this being the case it will soon become my project, as you may imagine. (Letter from W W Starmer to Denison Taylor, T275 Taylors Folder 9/3, 27 Nov 1918)
[10] Up to the present St Mark's carillon idea is going strong. The Vicar and his wife are very great on it and at any rate it will have to best chance of anything they propose. (Letter from W W Starmer to Denison Taylor, T274 Taylors Folder 9/3, 5 Dec 1918)
[11] Re St Marks. There is to be a Parish Meeting next Tuesday evening at which the project of the bells will be discussed. I hear that there is opposition but we shall not know this until it is shown at the meeting unless the opposers do not attend. Sometimes they adopt that method. However you may be sure that when I am called upon to have my say in the matter it will be in no uncertain terms and I shall not ?mince the matter my speech has been ready for months past although I have not spoken a word about the project to a soul, purposely. (Letter from W W Starmer to Denison Taylor, 25 Feb 1919)
[12] We are to have a Com. Meeting shortly so I should like you to give a rough estimate re a peal of 8 for St Marks using the present bell as the tenor. I believe you have the dimensions of the tower and I think we discussed the possibilities before. We have practically decided to have a bell metal panel in the church recording the names of all those who have given up their lives for their country. This was my suggestion. Our bell is [?] on the sharp side and weigh as far as I remember just under 12 cwt. (Letter from W W Starmer to Taylors, T370 Taylors Folder 11/4, 7 Mar 1919)
[13] I got John's letter and estimate all right and in time for last Monday's meeting. I am glad to say that the subject of bells is quite in the ascendant. A decision was arrived at which simplifies the matter considerably. (1) A panel of bronze or bell metal is to be put up in the church making a proper record of all those in the parish who have lost their lives in the war. This is to be a first charge on any funds subscribed and right a proper too. It is my suggestion. Therefore we shall want any photos you can let us have of things you have already done because I made a great point of bell metal being so much better than bronze etc. and it will be my aim to get this for you to do. (2) (a) Bells or (b) a granite cross etc in a prominent part of the parish. Now it will be necessary for you to come down here because they want to know so much that can be settled on the spot and save endless writing. I suggest that you should come if possible. (1) On Tuesday evening meet and stay with us as I can get a good part of Wednesday free, or (2) On Thursday I shall be in London but could meet you at Cannon St and come down by the 5 o'clock express and could get most of Friday free until 2.30. This is the best I can suggest for next week and I want to be primed with everything re bells by the meeting for Monday the 24th. I expect to be asked (1) Cost of ringing peal of 8, the estimate for which I have got (2) Cost of peal of 8 / 7 hung dead and played from a keyboard (3) Carillon of 3 octaves chromatic played from the clavier. There has also been a suggestion made that the bells should be used for clock chimes but all about this when you come. (Letter from W W Starmer to Denison Taylor, 14 Mar 1919)
[14] In reference to the conversation I had with you and the Vicar of St Mark's on Tuesday [concerning] the proposed carillon of bells for St. Mark's Church, Broadwater Down. I beg to submit to you the enclosed specification and estimate for a set of 37 bells (three octaves chromatic) together with all requisite fitting and framework, and fixing complete in the tower. May I be permitted to any that, though the tower is not so lofty as I should have proposed taking the size of it and its situation in the midst of a large and important residential neighbourhood it is one that is eminently suitable for a carillon. I am convinced that at suitable hours the recitals which would be given on the bells would give great pleasure to all who live within the sound of the bells. There is not much doubt that there is a great future for carillons in England. not by any means to displace our excellent English Ringing peals of bells but for situations where ringing bells are not desirable. In addition to our estimate for the bells and their accessories some little alterations in the tower will be required. The clock weights now pass through the bellchamber, I believe in the North WEst corner, The whole area of the bellchamber will be required so that the weights must go down nearly to the ground level. The floor which now carries the bell will have to be refixed a little lower down. The hatchways in this floor and the first floor are not large enough for the heaviest bells to pass through and therefore larger openings will have to be made. There will also be a small amount of mason's work required to prepare the walls to receive the firders of the bellframe. Full particulars of these can be sent to you when we have got out our plans of the bellframe. The question was mentioned as to whether any scheme could be arranged to reduce the cost presuming the amount now named should be found to be too much to raise at present. As to this I certainly think that everything should now be so arranged that the 37 bells proposed could be eventually fixed without any rearrangement of the bells now put up. That is to say the clavier should be made for the 37 bells and the framework designed for them so that at a future time it would simply be lifting the bells up into their places and connecting the wires from the clappers to the clavier. The keys of the clavier are always arranged so that the largest bell is the lowers C onthe clavier, irrespective of the actual note of the bell. This is found to be the most convenient. The two bells which could be the most easily dispensed with for a time are the lower C sharp and D sharp which will weigh together about 31 cwts. 1qr. 0 lbs. The omission of these will reduce the estimate by about £350. (three hundred and fifty pounds). I do not say anything about a carilloneur and the music and manner of playing upon the bells for I think you can explain those matters much better than I can. Please write me if I have not made all clear or not given all the details you would like to have. ESTIMATE For thirty-six new bells to complete with the existing bell a carillon of three octaves chromatic, thirty-seven bells; the weight of the largest bell to be about 30-cwts. and the total weight of the thirty-six new bells about 138 (?) cwts. The bells to be made of the purest metal and to be of the best tone and in perfect tune, with true harmonics. £1,516 - 8 - 0. New fittings for the thirty-seven bells, i.e. clappers, headstocks and the requisite smithwork, also strong and massive framework to carry the bells, and clavier or keyboard and all the necessary wire connections, transmittions bars, etc. Including fixing the bells complete in the tower, leaving the carillon ready for playing, and carriage of the bells and all materials and tools between our works and the Church. Exclusion of any work to the clock, or floors or masonry. £649 - 10 - 0. [Grand Total] £2,165 - 18 - 0 (Letter from John W Taylor to W W Starmer, Taylors Letterbook 834-6, 21 Mar 1919)
[15] Our appeal for St Marks Parish has not been issued yet but I think it will be sent out during the next week. (Letter from W W Starmer to Denison Taylor, 14 Apr 1919)
[16] Re St Marks, The circular has not yet been issued, but it is in the [?] hands. There is plenty of money in the parish but I am certain that not one of our important people has escaped very heavy tarnation and no doubt this will be up against anything. I had a letter from Sir Henry Webb and he will give us a subscription. He could afford a good round sum quite easily as his wife left ~50.000 to one institution, and he has the bulk of the wealth. (Letter from W W Starmer to Denison Taylor, 19 Apr 1919)
[17] We are getting on very badly re the proposed bell at St Mark. The subscriptions up to the present have been insignificant for such a parish however when you come to think of it all the best of the people have even very very hard hit with the present taxation and they have not got the money to give and just now they are very cautious indeed re their expenditures and it is only what one could expect. (Letter from W W Starmer to Denison Taylor, T356 Folder 11/4, 19 Jun 1919)
[18] I enclose also the S. Mark's estimate with each bell calculated as you request. The C sharp and D sharp (i.e. as they will be on the clavier, really F and G) are included, but one or both of these can of course be eliminated if desired, and a proportionate amount deducted from the fittings and framework &c. ESTIMATE ... £2201-11-0 (Letter from Taylors to W W Starmer, 22 Jul 1919)


David Cawley ringing the bell.
Photo: Dickon Love, 29 Jan 2005

One of the empty pits.
Photo: Michael Royalton-Kisch, 29 Jan 2005 (Dickon's camera)

Views of the ringing bell.
Photo: Michael Royalton-Kisch, 29 Jan 2005 (Dickon's camera)

Photo: Michael Royalton-Kisch, 29 Jan 2005 (Dickon's camera)

Photo: Michael Royalton-Kisch, 29 Jan 2005 (Dickon's camera)

Photo: Michael Royalton-Kisch, 29 Jan 2005 (Dickon's camera)

The arrangement of the bells in the tower from a sketch by Michael Royalton-Kisch.
Photo: Michael Royalton-Kisch, 29 Jan 2005

Quotation for a carillon from John Taylor & Co, 19 Mar 1908

Quotation from John Taylor & Co

Quotation from John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 19 March, 1908

Tunbridge Wells, St Mark

Bell Diameter lbs Note
1. 6"       6536 17 G
2.   18 F♯
3.   19 F
4.   20 E
5.   21 D♯
6. 22 D
7.   23 C♯
8. 24 C
9.   26 B
10.   1-0 A♯
11.   1-2 A
12. 11       3268 1-4 G♯
13.   1-7 G
14.   1-14 F♯
15.   1-21 F
16.   2-0 E
17.   2-7 D♯
18.   2-14 D
19.   3-0 C♯
20.   3-14 C
21.   1-0-0 B
22.   1-0-14 A♯
23.   1-1-0 A
24.   1-2-0 G♯
25. 1' - 9"    1634 1-3-0 G
26.   2-0-0 F♯
27.   2-1-0 F
28.   2-2-0 E
29.   3-0-0 D♯
30. 3-2-0 D
31.   4-1-0 C♯
32.   5-0-0 C
33.   5-3-0 B
34.   8-0-0 A
35. 3' - 3½"         817 11-1-16 G


Twenty four bells 12 cwts at £8-1-0 96-12-0
Ten bells 38 cwt at £7 266-0-0
Frame, fittings with clappers 40/- per cwt. 100-0-0
Clavier 30-0-0
Fixing 45-0-0
Case 6 ton at 60/- 18-0-0


Quotation for a carillon from John Taylor & Co, 21 Mar 1919

Tunbridge Wells

Tunbridge Wells, St Mark's

Canon on smaller bells.

1 2' 1" 1246.3 No. 218 3-1-0 Canon
2 2' 2½" 1178.3 No. 216 3-2-14 Flat head
3 2' 4" 1110.3 No. 245 4-1-0        " 
4 2' 5½" 1098 No. 151 4-3-0        "
5 2' 7" 989.1 No. 158 5-3-0        "
6 2' 8½" 933.6 No. 211 6-1-0        "
7 2' 10½" 881.6 No. 214 7-1-14        "
8 3' 0½" 831.7 No. 190  D♯ 8-3-14        "
9 3' 3½" 788.1 No.246.  D   existing bell
10 3' 5½" 741 No. 223  C♯ 18-0-0 Flat head
11 3' 7½" 699.6 No. 226  C 14-1-0        "
12 3' 10½" 660.3   1-1-0        "
13 4' 0½" 623.1   20-0-0        "
Next 12 bells - chromatic [?] tenor  
 at 3½ cwt i.e. 3½ x 6 21-0-0    
                  less tenor 3-2-0
      17-2-5 say 18-0-0  
Next 12 smallest @ £7 each   127-0-0  

Quotation for a carillon from John Taylor & Co, 22 July 1919

Tunbridge Wells

Jul 22nd. 1919



The remaining twenty-three bells, to weigh about as follows, and to be charged for at the rate of £11-11s-0d. per cwt.

For thirty-six new bells, to complete with the existing bell a carillon of three octaves chromatic, thirty-seven bells, the bells to be cast of the purest metal and to be of the best tone and in perfect tune, with true harmonics; to be charged for as follows:-

The thirteen smallest bells at the rate of £7. per bell.

91 0 0
Cwts. qrs. lbs.
  2 14  at £11-11s-0d.  7 4 5
  3 0   8 13 3
  3 21   10 16 7
1 0 14   12 19 10
1 1 7   15 3 2
1 2 0 17 6 6
1 3 0   20 4 3
2 0 0   23 2 0
2 2 0   25 19 9
2 2 0   28 17 6
2 3 0 31 15 3
3 0 14   36 1 10
3 2 0   40 8 6
4 0 0   46 4 0
4 2 0   51 19 6
5 2 0   63 10 6
6 2 0   75 1 6
7 2 0   83 12 6
9 0 0   103 19 0
13 0 14   151 11 11
15 0 0   173 5 0
17 1 0   199 4 9
20 0 0   231 0 0
New fittings for the thrity-seven bells, i.e. clappers, headstocks and the requisite smithwork, also strongand massiveframework to carry the bells, and clavier or keyboard and all the necessary wire connections, transmission bars, &c. Including fixing the bells complete in the tower, leaving the carillon rady for playing, and carriage of the bells and all materials and tools between our works and the curch. Exclusive of any work to the clock, floors or masonry. 649 10 0
  2,165 18 0
Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent Page updated: 14 March 2021