Mike Chester mike at m...
Fri Dec 6 14:24:02 GMT 2002

here are some details from the church website

The Church Bells 
It was in 1896 that the bells were increased from a ring of six to a 
ring of eight bells. At the same time two of the six bells, the old 
fourth and old fifth were recast. The two 'new' bells were cast by 
Mears and Stainbank, Founders, London.

The Treble was one of the new bells cast in 1896. It weighs 5cwt 3qr 
and has an Eb note. The inscription indicates that the Rector was 
George Maberley Smith and the Churchwardens were Frank Arnold and 
George King.

The Number 2 bell is dedicated to the memory of Frank Ernest Hills of 
Redleaf who died in 1896. It weighs 6cwt and has a D note.

The third bell has a C note and weighs 7cwt. The bell was donated by 
Gilbert Spencer in 1701 and was cast by R.Phelps, Master Founder at 
Whitechapel at that time.

The fourth bell was cast by Thomas Meade at Whitechapel in 1802. It 
weighs 6cwt 3qr with a Db note.

Number 5 is the oldest bell in the church. It is ascribed to John 
Kebyll and is thought to have been cast ca.1480. There appears to be 
no direct evidence to the identity of the founder but the bell bears 
the arms of the Keble(sic) family and a John Kebyll, a wheelwright, 
rehung some bells for St. Stephen's Walbrook, London in 1480. The 
inscription band has two decorative crosses and the arms of the 
Kebyll family. The bell weighs 7cwt 2qr 26lb and has an Ab note. 

The sixth bell is from the same foundry as the Kebyll bell but was 
recast in 1896 by Mears & Stainbank. A Latin inscription just above 
the lip translates as "May John's bell ring out for many years". The 
bell weighs 10cwt 3qr 7lb and has a G note

The seventh bell was originally cast by Thomas Mears in 1802 and was 
recast by Whitechapel in 1896. It weighs 14cwt 0qr 6lb.

The Tenor bell is the heaviest bell in the church weighing 17cwt 2qr 
16lb with an Eb note. It was cast by Joesph Hatch in 1619. The Hatch 
family ran a foundry at Ulcombe, near Maidstone for eighty years.

The Turret Clock 

The clock we see today was not the first clock installed in Penshurst 
church as clock winding and maintenance costs are mentioned in parish 
records going back as far as 1722. The present clock is an eight day 
clock erected in 1858 by T.Cooke & Sons of York, striking the hours 
on the 17cwt Tenor bell. This was the fifth clock built by that 
company and it is interesting to note that clock No.11 went to the 
local manor house at South Park, home of the Hardinge family, in 1860 
and was purchased at auction in 1956 by the Roman Catholic Church at 

It was originally intended to add chimes to the clock in 1858 but for 
some reason no chimes were added until 1917 when the parish decided 
on the addition of chimes to commemorate the ministry of Canon 
Maberly Smith who was Curate from 1856-69 and Rector from 1878-1916. 
An engraved brass plaque honouring the services of the Canon is also 
found in the NE corner of the Sanctuary. 

The original copper face of the clock was replaced in 1917 by the 
present simple skeletonised clock dial face in front of the bell 
chamber. In 1917, when the chimes were added, there is reference to a 
new skeletonised clock face after the style of Malines Cathedral in 
Belgium and this appears to be the one visible today.

(Taken from notes by Peter Wotton of Tonbridge published in "Clocks: 
The International Magazine for Horological Collectors and Restorers" 
vol.21 nos.8 & 9)

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