History

Original Bells

On October 25, 1876 a single John Warner and Sons bell hanging in pit 7 of the 8 bell frame, was consecrated.

At Ascenslontide, 1878 five smaller John Warner and Sons bells were added in pits 2 through 6.

#InscriptionCostWeightNoteDate
TrebleTe Deum (Sarah Buckmaster)£41-17-64-3-12F1878
No. 2Benedictus (Herny Hughes)£45-17-65-0-4E♭1878
No. 3Beati Omni (David White)£49-12-65-2-8D♭1878
No. 4Jubilate (Charles Beaumont)£53-12-66-0-2B1878
No. 5Gloria in Excelsis (Wigan Family)£59-10-06-2-4B♭1878
Tenor(Building Committee Members)£89-17-67-1-26A♭1876

It was proposed that the last two bells would be named Venite Exullemus and Nunc Dimittis.

Current Bells

By the 1970s the bells were becoming increasingly difficult and a Bell Restoration Fund was launched with the object of increasing the peal to eight.

In 1974, a Gillett & Johnston bell was acquired from the redundant Bassett Keeling & Tyre church of St. Paul, Penge.  This bell was originally cast in 1866 by John Warner & Sons before being recast in 1933.

Following professional advice that a full peal, at the weight intended by John Warner and Sons in 1878, might damage the tower, the decision was taken to recast the six original bells to make the front seven and to tune them to the bell from Penge.

A final peal was rung on Sunday August 11, 1979 before the bells were taken down and removed to the Whltechapel Bell Foundry for recasting.

The recasting was conducted in the presence of Father Gibbons and other representatives from the parish on Tuesday August 21, 1979.

The original oak frame was tie-bolted by Stuart Taylor in October 1979 and the new peal was hoisted into position on Saturday January 5, 1980 by Alan Hughes and KCACR members.  The Bishop of Maidstone, The Rt. Rev. Richard Third, blessed the bells following the ceremony of Candlemas on Saturday February 2, 1980.

The Peal now comprises:

#InscriptionWeightNoteDateDiameter
TrebleA. M. D. G.
(Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam)
2-1-12C197919¾”
No. 2RECAST
FROM A BELL DONATED BY
SARAH BUCKMASTER
2-1-20B197920¾”
No. 3RECAST
FROM A BELL DONATED BY
HENRY HUGHES
2-2-16A197922″
No. 4RECAST
FROM A BELL DONATED BY
DAVID STEPHEN WHITE
2-2-26G197924″
No. 5RECAST FROM A BELL DONATED BY
CHARLES BEAUMONT
3-1-4F197926″
No. 6RECAST
FROM A BELL DONATED BY
FRANCES, LEWIS, JOHN,
PERCY, CLARA, AND MABEL –
CHILDREN OF MAIDSTONE
AND L. D. WIGAN.
3-3-8E197927″
No. 7THIS BELL
ORIGINALLY CAST IN 1876:
AND BELLS 2-6 IN 1878
BY JOHN WARNER & SONS,
LONDON
5-0-4D197929″
TenorGILLETT & JOHNSTON, CROYDON 1933

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
MILLICENT
1900 – 1931
“PRAISE YE THE LORD”

6-1-24C193332″

The combined weight of the peal is 1 ton 6 cwt 3 stn 2 lb. That the peal was increased at all owes much to the enthusiasm of Mr & Mrs. Michael Barber.

St Michael’s Tenor

Much of the above information comes from an article in ringing-world-1980-02-01.pdf.

Clock Bell

The clock bell, which also chimes for the Angelus, was cast in 1734 for Burham Old Church by Richard Phelps of Whitechapel Bell Foundry.  The bell weighs approximately 4¾ cwt and has a diameter of 28⅞”.  It is tune to the note of E.  The inscription is “RICHARD PHELPS MADE ME 1734”