Newchurch Village > History > St Peter & St Pauls > The Bells of Newchurch

The Bells of Newchurch

In 1552, the church inventory mentions four bells. These were replaced in 1637 with five new bells, which were hung in the old frame adapted to take the five bells. By 1845, the treble had cracked. It was recast and fitted into the old frame, which was then nearly 300 years old. In 1968 it was decided the old frame had to be changed as its age was causing many problems.

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The following minute appears in the PCC minutes dated 8th January 1965.

Secretary reported letter received from Mr. T. E. Collins, 17 Hamilton Road, Thornton Heath, enclosing report on the church bells following his visit and inspection on Dec 17. He reported that the bells should not be rung again in their present condition except No.4 for 5 minute intervals. The bells needed complete overhaul, tuning and rehanging in new bell frame. Overall cost £1600. Letter sent to Mr. Collins thanking him for his assistance enclosing 30/- expenses.

The bells were removed and a new bell frame was erected to hang six bells, the opportunity being taken to include an additional treble in The new six bell bell frame in St Peter and St Paul’s tower, in memory of bellringer John Willis. In February 1969 the six bells rang out for the first time.

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The Bell Pit

In 1973, an old bell pit was discovered in the churchyard by Bill Beeching, the sexton, as he was digging a grave. This was the cause of great excitement and experts from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry were keen to see it. It was probably used by an itinerant bell maker and could have been used for original bells from as early as 12th or 13th century, as the bells made in 1637 were made by John Wilmer of Borden who had his own  foundry.

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Description of the existing bells and the new memorial bell, installed in 1969

Prior to the installation of the new bells, Percy Head, a bellringer for over forty years, had devised an ingenious system for ringing the bell single-handed. His story featured  in the press

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