Belltowers of Queen Mary's reign - was Cromwell's churches?

La Greenall eldeworth at
Wed Mar 8 07:20:32 GMT 2006


I'm a newcomer to this enjoyable list, an amateur local historian with a
keen interest in the history of my local parish church at Waltham Abbey
in Essex. Its current western bell tower was first erected in 1556-58 as
a means of stopping the rest of the church collapsing as it started
leaning worryingly after the old central tower at its eastern end
collapsed soon after the Dissolution had robbed the abbey of its eastern
arm and transepts. What remains was once the western arm of a cruciform

Following on from the fascinating thread on Cromwellian churches,
Waltham Abbey's present tower is, according to different sources, either
one of very few church towers, or possibly the only one, built during
the short reign of Queen Mary. Can anyone confirm or refute this?


Lawrence Greenall,
Waltham Abbey Hist Soc

BTW the parishioners had to sell the bells they had rescued from the old
tower in order to pay for the new tower to be completed, so it was
without bells for a while when new. The churchwardens' accounts list 200
'bachelors and maids' who made donations towards 'the first of six
bells' in 1656. I'm not sure whether this means that there were no bells
at all in the tower from 1558 to 1656. Most or all of these bells were
recast by John Briant of Hertford circa 1804. I am hoping to help take
photos and record inscriptions in the next few months.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: bellhistorians at 
> [mailto:bellhistorians at] On Behalf Of Andrew Wilby
> Sent: 07 March 2006 07:34
> To: bellhistorians at
> Subject: [Bell Historians] Cromwell's churches?
> Can anyone direct me to a list of the churches built or 
> rebuilt during the 
> Commonwealth please?
> I seem to remember it being said that there were relatively 
> few although a 
> comparison between this period and the pre- commonwealth and 
> post periods 
> would be interesting to see.
> Stockton Parish Church and Staunton Harold are two that come 
> to mind....
> Andrew 
> Yahoo! Groups Links
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