Church Bells

Church bells became popular in the early middle ages as they provided a means of informing the surrounding population of a service or other religious event.

Most of the churches of Eastern Essex had bells in the tower.

Bellropes at St Leonards Church, Southminster

Some of these bells are now several hundred years old and still providing information of  impending religious events.

Bell ringing still takes place at Bradwell on Sea, Burnham on Crouch, Purleigh, Southminster and Tillingham.

Don Ramsey has an excellent little site called Dengie Bells on current bell ringing in this area.

Bell History

Rev Cecil Deedes was on expert on the Church Bells of Essex writing books on Church Bells from 1884 until 1909 when the definitive  Church Bells of Essex was published.

The extracts below tell the story of Church bells up to 1909

Althorne

Two bells

1st bell made by Thomas Harrys of London in about 1480

2nd bell made by Miles Graye in 1638.

In 1552 the church is recorded as having 3 bells

In 1748 the church is recorded as having 3 bells

In 1770 the church is recorded as having 3 bells


Asheldham

One bell although pits for three

Marked Sancte Petre Ora - Recast by John Warner and Sons , London in 1884

In 1552 the church  is recorded as having 3 bells

In 1748 the church is recorded as having two bells or only one

In 1770 the church is recorded as having 1 bell


Bradwell on Sea

Five bells of a ring of eight

one to four all marked Robert Catlin 1744

Fifth marked Theodore Eccleston of Crowfields in Suffolk gave this frame

The missing tenor and two treble bells cracked in 1872.

The money raised by the sale of the cracked bells was spent on the church clock.

In 1552 the church is recorded as having 3 bells

In 1748 the church is recorded as having 8 bells

In 1770 the church is recorded as having 8 bells

On Sundays the three larger bells chimed for 15 minutes from 8am.

Bells chimes for 15 minutes then tolled for the final 15 minutes before a service.


Burnham on Crouch

Five Bells

one and two  marked Robert Stephens Daniell Crowder Churchwardens 1673

These were made by Andrew Bartlett

three marked Sancta Katerina ora pro nobis

This was made by John Walgrave

four marked W Shuttleworth D Hawkins Churchwardens T Mears & Sons London 1807

fifth marked Tho Hudart & Wm Clarke Ch Wardens Lester & pack of London 1767

In 1552 the church is recorded as having 3 bells

In 1748 the church is recorded as having 5 bells

In 1770 the church is recorded as having 5 bells

In 1703 Burnham Parish Church had the tallest tower in the area  with 6 bells but the tower collapsed during high winds.

When it was rebuilt only 5 bells were replaced.

The Church had a custom to ring a death knell 12-24 hours after a death. A tenor for over 12 year olds and the 2nd bell for children under 12 yrs

For services the bells rang for 30 minutes with the tenor joining in for the last 5 minutes.


Cold Norton

two bells

both marked J Taylor & co Loughborough 1854

In 1552 the church is recorded as having 2 bells

In 1748 the church is recorded as having 2 bells

In 1770 the church is recorded as having 2 bells


Dengie

two bells

one marked  C &G Mears Founders 1849

second marked Sancta Maria Ora Pro Nobis

In 1552 the church is recorded as having 2 bells

In 1748 the church is recorded as having 2 bells

In 1770 the church is recorded as having 2 bells


Hazeleigh

one bell

marked Thos Mears of London 1793

In 1552 the church is recorded as having 2 bells

In 1748 the church is recorded as having formerly 1 bell but now none

In 1770 the church is recorded as having a small bell turret but no bell


Latchingdon - St Michael

one bell

no inscription

In 1552 the church is recorded as having 1 bell. A second having recently been sold.

In 1748 the church is recorded as having 1 bell

In 1770 the church is recorded as having 1 bell

This church is now disused and converted into a house. The bell is no longer in situ.


Latchingdon - Christchurch

two bells

Modern bells with no inscription

The church was built in 1857


Mayland

one bell

marked Miles Graye made me in 1662

In 1552 the church is recorded as having 2 bells

In 1748 the church is recorded as having 3 bells

In 1770 the church is recorded as having 3 bells


Mundon

one bell

marked Vincente Reboat Ut Gunta Noxia Collat

In 1552 the church is recorded as having 2 bells

In 1748 the church is recorded as having 3 bells

In 1770 the church is recorded as having 3 bells


North Fambridge

one bell

By Pack & Chapman 1771

In 1552 the church is recorded as having no bells

In 1748 the church is recorded as having no bells

In 1770 the church is recorded as having 1 bell


Purleigh

five bells

one marked Fras Enever & Thos Spurden Ch Wardens 1765 Lester & Pack of London

two to five marked Miles Graye made me 1636

In 1552 the church is recorded as having 3 bells

In 1748 the church is recorded as having 5 bells

In 1770 the church is recorded as having 5 bells


St Lawrence Newland

one bell

no markings

In 1552 the church is recorded as having 1 bells

In 1748 the church is  confusingly recorded as having no bell or only 2

In 1770 the church is not recorded


Southminster

six plus one clock bell

one - marked B Fowler vicar S Bawtree & T Barker Churchwardens

two - no marking

three and four  - Tho Lester of London made me 1749

five - Thomas Turner Churchwarden James Bartlett made me 1684

six - Richard Firebrace & Edward Brocket Ch Wardens 1749 T Lester made me

clock bell - dated 1684

In 1552 the church is recorded as having 2 bells

In 1748 the church is recorded as having 5 bells

In 1770 the church is recorded as having 5 bells

The Church had a custom to ring a death knell 12-24 hours after a death. A tenor for adults, the 4th for children and the 2nd for infants.

The death knell bean with the tellers then ring 3X3  then the age is tolled and the bell is dropped followed by a repeat of the tellers.

A service is signified by the bells being chimed and the tenor tolled for the last 15 minutes.


Steeple with Stansgate

two bells

one marked Miles Graye made me 1636

two marked Sea Juliana is cracked and lying in the churchyard

In 1552 the church is recorded as having 2 bells

In 1748 the church is recorded as having 2 bells

In 1770 the church is recorded as having 2 bells

It was noted that in 1872 the tower collapsed and the bell was hung in the knave with the sound emitting via a lattice in the west gable.


Stow Maries

one bell

marked Miles Graye made me 1686

In 1552 the church was not  recorded

In 1748 the church is recorded as having 1 bells

In 1770 the church is recorded as having 1 bells


Tillingham

six bells

one-cast by John Warner of London the gift of Mary Anna Seabrook 1889 William Coase Miller Vicar

two-Sacte Leuca  - made by William Culverden

three- Johannes Est Nomen Eins- made by Henry Jordan

four - John Darbie made me 1684

five - Cap & Hollingworth James Mascall Church Wardens 1707 - made by Henry Pleasant

six - John Darbie made me 1684

In 1552 the church is recorded as having 2 bells

In 1748 the church is recorded as having 5 bells

In 1770 the church is recorded as having 5 bells

The Church had a custom to ring a death knell 12 hours after a death.

A tenor for adults and a smaller bell for children.

tellers 3 x 3 for adults and 3 x 2 for children followed by tolling for one hour.

On Sundays the bells chimed at 8am , the Tenor at 9am.

For serviced the bells chimed for 15 minutes.

On Good Friday the tenor is tolled from noon to 3pm.


Woodham Mortimer

three bells

one - Miles Graye made me 1627

two - Johannes Est Nomen Eus - made by John Danyell

three - Miles Graye made me 1612

In 1552 the church is recorded as having 2 bells

In 1748 the church is recorded as having 3 bells

In 1770 the church is recorded as having 3 bells

The Church had a custom to ring a death knell 12-24 hours after a death.

A tenor for adults and a smaller bell for children.

Tolling for 1/2 an hour before funerals

On Sundays tolling and chiming for services

Ringing for weddings


Woodham Walter

three bells

one - Miles Graye made me 1676

two -Henry Jordan's stamps

three - Tho Gardiner- Sudbury 1743

In 1552 the church is recorded as having 2 bells

In 1748 the church is recorded as having 3 bells

In 1770 the church is recorded as having 3 bells

The Church had a custom to ring a death knell 24 hours after a death.

Three for male two for female

On Sundays  chiming for 20 minutes and tolling for 10 minute

Ringing for weddings if requested

Gleaning bell formerly at 8am and 6pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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