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The Church Bells of Sheppey.

FROM Sheppey Church Magazine June 1885

 

The majority of the old bells of the Island were cast in this County.The Hatches  had their foundry at Ulcombe near Staplehurst, the Wilners or Wilnars at Borden near Sittingbourne , Phelps was a founder in Whitechapel London as was the Bartletts.

ELMLEY.

Has one bell 18 and 1/4 inches in diam. inscribed “ C & J Mears founders London.1854.

WARDEN.

Had a very sweet toned bell, at present (1885) lying in the belfry at Minster.It is 23 and

½ inches in diam. And is believed to have been cast by Joseph Hatch about 1602

SHEERNESS,   St.PAULS .

Has  one small modern bell from Messrs  Warners

HARTY.

Has one bell 26 and ½  inches in diam marked Lester and Park of London ,Fecit 1760.

LEYSDOWN.

Before the re-building of the church had an old bell which is now in the New Murston

Church near Sittingbourne .The bell is marked “ John Crus Churchwarden 1673”and was

cast  by Jas Bartlett .It is not in good condition being cracked at the waist .It was replaced

 in 1874 by two smaller bells from the foundry of Messrs. Warner of Cripplegate  and

 inscribed  “ Venite exultemus Domino “.There is room in the bell turret for a third bell.

SHEERNESS    DOCKYARD CHAPEL.

The Dockyard Chapel before the fire had three bells marked “ Meers, founder ,London”

Of these the two smaller ones were only used  for chiming the quarters of the clock .The

hours were struck upon the larger one which was also used for the Church Services. The

two smaller ones 15 and 18  inches  in diam. were dated 1814 , these perished , but the

other escaped  and is dated 1793,its diameter was 28 inches . Three new bells have

 recently been supplied by Messrs. E. Dent and Co. Strand London to take the same work

as the older ones . Their diameters are 19, 21, and 27 inches and weighs 1 cwt 2 qrs,

1cwt 3qrs 9lbs, 3cwt 3qrs 21 lbs .The large bell is tolled by a clapper and pulley, not

 swung.

SHEERNESS     HOLY TRINITY CHURCH .

Has one bell with a diameter of 25 and ½ inches carrying the inscription “ John Turner

and  John Lowmer Churchwardens ,Thomas  Mears of London Fecit. 1797 .” As the

church was not built until 1836 ,it is plain that this bell was not cast for the church but

must have already been one in stock. Some few years ago it was replaced by a bell of

about the same size from the foundry of Messrs. Warner.

The Church Bells of Sheppey.

FROM Sheppey Church Magazine June 1885

MINSTER  ABBEY.

Has  a ring of five bells in good order for peal ringing and heavier than any other peal on the Island .All of them were dated alike 1663 .The 1st 2nd and 3rd bells “ William Hatch made me 1663 and the 4th and tenor  “WILLIAM HATCH MADE ME “. The  third bell has the letters “ IP “ The fourth bell “ T.D., T.M.,C.W.” and the tenor “S.S.” with the same letters as the fourth bell. These  two bells also have a little seal with three bells one placed over the other .impressed on them .The treble was cracked for a few years but was recast in 1883 and now carries  the mark “ Gillett, Bland & Co Croydon  recast A.D. 1883 “ and has  “ 625 “ impressed under its canon .A kind friend to this church Francis Grayling Esq of Sittingbourne took upon himself the whole cost of the recasting.  Mr.Samuel  Snelling carried out the whole work of re-hanging.

The weight of the tenor is 12 and Ύ  cwt.and the diameters are 29,31.33,36, 39 and ½ inches resp

EASTCHURCH.

Has the next heaviest ring, also five in number , but not a present fitted for

change-ringing.This peal is interesting as being made up of bells cast at different dates and in one instance by a different maker. We have now no means of finding out whether they were originally cast for this church,  but as the church wardens account tell us early in 1665 “The         Bel-hanger for new hanging our bells “ was paid £5-2s and 15s and 6d was given for five new bell ropes it is most likely that they were .

The treble 27 and ½ inches in diam. is inscribed “ John Wilmar 1634 “

The second 30 and ½ inches in diam. is inscribed  “John  Wilmer 1623 “

The third  33 and ½ inches in diam. is inscribed  “W.B . John Wilmer 1623 “

The fourth 36 inches in diam. is inscribed “ Joseph  Hatch made me 1605 “

The tenor 39 and ½ inches in diam.  is inscribed  “ John Wilmer 1623 “

This last bell , which weighs  11 and Ύ cwt , has been damaged .A piece of the metal has been broken out  of the second-bow ,which could not have been done by fair means .

QUEENBOROUGH.

Comes next  with the last peal of five , lighter than those of Minster and Eastchurch ..At present (1885) they are not available for peal ringing being in fault and the tenor broken and useless , by mischief . The measures of the first four bells  are 24½ , 26 , 27 , 29 inches respec, and they all bear the inscription “ Anthony Bartlett made me  1667 “

The tenor 32 inches in diam. weighs   cwt .and is inscribed “ The worshipful Robt, Evans ,Esq., Major .   James Ongley, Ch.warden  .R.Phelps made me in 1722 “

 

The majority of the old bells of the Island were cast in this County.The Hatches  had their foundry at Ulcombe near Staplehurst, the Wilners or Wilnars at Borden near Sittingbourne , Phelps was a founder in Whitechapel London as was the Bartletts.

ELMLEY.

Has one bell 18 and 1/4 inches in diam. inscribed “ C & J Mears founders London.1854.

WARDEN.

Had a very sweet toned bell, at present (1885) lying in the belfry at Minster.It is 23 and

½ inches in diam. And is believed to have been cast by Joseph Hatch about 1602

SHEERNESS,   St.PAULS .

Has  one small modern bell from Messrs  Warners

HARTY.

Has one bell 26 and ½  inches in diam marked Lester and Park of London ,Fecit 1760.

LEYSDOWN.

Before the re-building of the church had an old bell which is now in the New Murston

Church near Sittingbourne .The bell is marked “ John Crus Churchwarden 1673”and was

cast  by Jas Bartlett .It is not in good condition being cracked at the waist .It was replaced

 in 1874 by two smaller bells from the foundry of Messrs. Warner of Cripplegate  and

inscribed “Venite exultemus  Domino” .There is room in the bell-turret for a third bell.

.

SHEERNESS    DOCKYARD CHAPEL.

The Dockyard Chapel before the fire had three bells marked “ Meers, founder ,London”

Of these the two smaller ones were only used  for chiming the quarters of the clock .The

hours were struck upon the larger one which was also used for the Church Services. The

two smaller ones 15 and 18  inches  in diam. were dated 1814 , these perished , but the

other escaped  and is dated 1793,its diameter was 28 inches . Three new bells have

 recently been supplied by Messrs. E. Dent and Co. Strand London to take the same work

as the older ones . Their diameters are 19, 21, and 27 inches and weighs 1 cwt 2 qrs,

1cwt 3qrs 9lbs, 3cwt 3qrs 21 lbs .The large bell is tolled by a clapper and pulley, not

 swung.

SHEERNESS     HOLY TRINITY CHURCH .

Has one bell with a diameter of 25 and ½ inches carrying the inscription “ John Turner

and  John Lowmer Churchwardens ,Thomas  Mears of London Fecit. 1797 .” As the

church was not built until 1836 ,it is plain that this bell was not cast for the church but

must have already been one in stock. Some few years ago it was replaced by a bell of

about the same size from the foundry of Messrs. Warner.

 

This completes the list of “ peals “ in the Island .Of the bells above, ,it may be remarked that any of them less than 2 foot in diameter would be useless in a peal for English ringing.