Benenden Bellringing
The Bells

Bell


Treble
Bell 2
Bell 3
Bell 4
Bell 5
Bell 6
Bell 6b
Bell 7
Bell 8
Bell 9
Bell 10
Bell 11
Tenor
Founder


Taylor of Loughborough
Taylor of Loughborough
Taylor of Loughborough
Taylor of Loughborough
Taylor of Loughborough
Thomas Mears I of London
Taylor of Loughborough
Thomas Mears I of London
Taylor of Loughborough
Thomas Mears II of London
Alfred Bowell of Ipswich
Richard Phelps of London
Thomas Lester & Thomas Pack
of London
Date


2003
2003
2003
2003
1971
1802
2004
1802
1882
1819
1923
1719
1753
Weight (Imperial)


cwt

4
4
5
4
5
5
6
6
7
8
10
13
18



qrs

3
3
0
3
1
3
0
2
3
0
1
2
0



lbs

24
16
18
10
23
0
2
6
23
11
23
19
24


Weight (Metric)


kg

252
249
262
246
277
292
306
333
404
411
531
694
925



The Bells are one of the greatest heritage treasures in an ancient parish rich in many.
Benenden is one of only two Wealden parishes mentioned in Domesday Book of 1087 as having a church. The site of our parish church has been a place of Christian worship for almost a thousand years. No trace remains of that (probably small wooden) church; but in 1418, with the growing prosperity of Wealden agriculture and industry, a fine stone church, whose outer walls still stand today, was completed and dedicated - along with a tall detached timber tower and four bells (later augmented to five). These were of such an impressive size and weight that, if they still existed today, would be the heaviest ring of five bells in the world. The massive timber tower in which they were hung was quite a landmark, more than twice the height of the present tower.
In the year 1672, this great tower was struck by lightning and burned to the ground, taking the great bells with it, falling on the church and destroying all but the outer walls. Rebuilding of the church commenced in 1677, but the new stone tower was not completed to its present height, until 1718. In 1719 a new ring of six bells was received from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry and formed the basis of the present ring, although only one bell, the fifth of that ring and the present eleventh, survives in her original metal from that date.

Various recasts took place during the eighteenth century, including the great Tenor bell; just under a ton in weight and in the key of E flat, she dominates the landscape around with the depth and power of her majestic voice among her smaller sisters. In 1802 two additional small bells were added to make a full octave, within a new timber frame. In 1971 this was found to be rotten, and the bells were then properly tuned and rehung on ball-bearings in a new iron and steel frame. In 2003 the ring was augmented to twelve by the addition of four new treble bells by the generosity of donors of the parish; and the following year a further generous sponsor enabled the addition of a semitone bell which gives us a light octave particularly suitable for training beginners.
Bell Weights and Details

Copyright 2017 © G.Hogben