St Margaret Pattens Church Entrance

Our Bells

 
 
The Tower of St Margaret Pattens has two bells, one dating from 1624 and the other dated 1768.
 
The 1624 bell is a bit of a mystery - no specific record of its addition to the inventory has been found, but it is known that a bell existed prior to and after this date, as the accounts record expenditure on "bell rope.. trusse.. frame" in 1620 and payment for a "new stay to the Bell Frame and front" in 1631.
 
The bell itself testifies that it was made by Thomas Bartlet, a prolific Whitechapel founder whose bells are still found around London and Essex. Following the great fire, the wheel to the bell was mended in 1690 and then in 1702 a payment of 1s was made to the "Carpenters men when the Bell was hung in ye Spire".
 
Inventories indicate that at least from 1704, there were two bells, one hung in the tower and one on the ground.
 
The joint minutes of the united parishes confirm that a new bell was later commissioned from Mr Pack, and that it was agreed that it should exceed six hundred weight. Mr Pack who made the bell in 1768 and hung it the following year, was a partner in the Whitechapel Bellfoundry.
 
 
 Details of St Margaret Pattens Bells
 
 
 
 
 1624 bell before restoration   

(a) Smaller 1624 Bell before restoration with old clapper and bearings.

17th May 2009.             

(b) Larger Bell from 1768, before restoration.

17th May 2009. 

 

(c) 1624 Bell after restoration and with new chiming clapper. 5th March 2015.

 

 

(d) View of the 1624 Bell with the 1768 Bell to the right behind it. 5th March 2015.  Note the year 1624 inscribed at the top of the bell.  The larger bell is raised ‘up’ and therefore much more visible in profile beside the small bell. 

 

   (e) 1768 Bell after restoration, 5th March 2015. (DL)

 

 


(f) Bellringer Hans Rashbrook. 9th April 2016.

 

 

 (g) Hans Rashbrook (2nd from left) with visiting members of the Garlickhythe Guild of Ringers. 7th April 2015 (DL). 

 

(i) St Margaret Pattens fron the roof of St Mary-at-Hill's Vicarage.  27th August 2015. 

 

The Bells' Restoration and Rededication and Beyond

In 2014 the bells were removed from the tower and refurbished at Whitechapel Bellfoundry as part of St Margaret Pattens' Tower Project in which two new rooms were created in the lower levels of the tower beneath the ringing room and belfry.  At Whitechapel the bells were cleaned and re-tuned before being rehung in the tower, the 1768 bell on new bearings, and the 1624 bell - for chiming only - with a new hammer inserted and connected to a computer programmed control panel.

On 19th March 2015 at a Service of Thanksgiving for Completion of the Tower Project, the bells were rededicated by Rt Rev. Richard Chartres, Bishop of London.  Upon his command of "let the bells be rung" they rang together for the first time in decades.  Sadly, no record is known of their ringing in the years before their refurbishment, but they have since been rung for several notable occasions including the "Waterloo 200" commemoration and the 90th Birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth II.

 

St Margaret Pattens' Bellringer

As a member of St Margaret Pattens Choir since 2001 and with over 35 years' experience as a bellringer, Hans Rashbrook was ideally suited and is more than delighted to have responsibility for the regular ringing of the bells following their rededication in 2015.  A freelance artist and illustrator by profession, Hans learned to ring at Christ Church, Swindon in 1978, and has since rung at over 250 towers around London and Great Britain.  Some highlights among them include York Minster (1993) and St Paul's Cathedral (2000).  He has rung several quarter peals, and in 2015 he rang his first peal, becoming officially the 60th of just over 300 ringers to do so during that year for the 300th Anniversary of the 1st successfully rung and recorded peal.

Bellringer Hans Rashbrook, 9th April 2015.

Further related links: http://london.lovesguide.com/margaret_pattens.htm

 All photographs by Hans Rashbrook except (DL) by Dickon Love.