The Bells

One of the loveliest possessions of St Mary's are the bells. In 1984, there was a major refit of all the bells. Of the original eight, two have survived intact and have been put into semi-retirement. The oldest is the original No 7 bell dedicated to St Bartholomew and bearing the shield of William Culverden a London bell founder, circa 1520. The other bell from 1572 has the inscription 'Praise ye the Lord'. These two bells were simply retuned and rehung with the older bell being given a hammer to become the hour bell of the clock and the other a tolling mechanism to become the service bell.

With the casting of the new eight bells in 1984, using metal from the old bells, the remaining six bells may have lost some of their original identity but they have all been given a new one with individual names. Most have been gifted by parishioners. The treble and number 2 are named John and Paul and were originally given in 1927 in memory of Frederick and Alice Green. Numbers 3, 4 and 5 were originally presented by James Edward Bowles Wilson of Cambridge House, Wimbledon and are now known as Peter, Luke and Matthew. Mark, No 6 was given in memory of Charles and Caroline Witts and No 7, Charles, has the lovely inscription 'He alone is great who turns the voice of the wind into a song made sweeter by his own loving. In memory of our dearly beloved husband and father, Charles Edward Solomon'. Mary is the Tenor weighing 11cwt originally made by Richard Phelps in 1715.

The bellringers of St Mary's still peal out the bells every Sunday and for numerous weddings, often joining forces with other bellringers for mid week practising. The experienced ringers are passing their skills on to an enthusiastic younger generation to ensure that they will peal for many years to come.