WESTMINSTER
ST CLEMENT DANES, STRAND

 

 

 

 

A ring of 10 bells plus hung dead: flat 4th and sanctus bell
Tenor: 21-1-23 in E
Frames: 1955 Mears & Stainbank (cast iron). Upper frame contains bells 5, 6, 7, Flat 4 and sanctus. Remaining bells in lower frame.
Retuning: Never subsequently retuned
Rung from upstairs ringing room
Grid Ref: TQ309810
Floors:
A spiral staircase in the south west corner gives access to:
1. Small office
2. Organ blower room
3. Ringing Room
4. Belfry
The belfry has small ladders giving access to the upper tier of the twin tier bellframe, then a ladder to a platform with the clock, a ladder to a platform that was an earlier floor, and a ladder giving access to the roof and the spire.
Peals
¯Sound clip
(BBC Radio 4 Bells on Sunday, 20th May, 2012)

DETAILS OF THE BELLS

Bell

Weight

Diameter

Note

Cast

Founder

1

4-1-8 26" G sharp

1955

Mears & Stainbank

2

4-2-10 27" F sharp 1955 Mears & Stainbank

3

5-1-23 28¾" E 1955 Mears & Stainbank

4

5-3-3 29¾" D sharp 1955 Mears & Stainbank

5

6-0-6 31¼" C sharp 1955 Mears & Stainbank

6

7-1-15 34" B 1955 Mears & Stainbank

7

9-1-19 36¾" A 1955 Mears & Stainbank

8

10-1-14 38¾" G sharp 1955 Mears & Stainbank

9

14-0-27 43" F sharp 1955 Mears & Stainbank

10

21-1-23 49" E 1979 Whitechapel

Flat 4th

6-0-21 30½" D 1955 Mears & Stainbank

Sanctus

2-2-19 22¾" E 1588 Robert Mot
1. OLIM DE COELIS RUINA, HODIE IN COELIS LAETITIA RESTITUTA
CAST 1844, RECAST 19 55
2. LOCIS AERIIS ME REDDIDIT AERONAUTICA CLASSIS REGINAE
CAST BY C. OLIVER 1844, RECAST 19 55.
3. QUIBUS DEUS VICTORIAM DEDIT, ILLI VOCEM MIHI REDDIDERUNT
CAST 1693, RECAST 19 55
4. CANTATE DOMINO CANTICUM NOVUM
CAST 1693, RECAST 19 55.
5. MORTEM VITAM EXPERTUS INVICEM RECORDOR
CAST 1693, RECAST 1843, RECAST 19 55
6. PRAETERITA TRIUMPHO REDIVIVUS CLADE
CAST 1693, RECAST 19 55
7. DONUM VICTORISW CANO LAUDEM DEI
CAST 1693, RECAST 19 55
8. ECCE AEDIFICATIO ASTROLOGI AB AERONAUTIS
CAST 1693, RECAST 19 55.
9. PER ARDUA AD ASTRA
CAST 1693. RECAST 19 55
10. LAUS DEO

WILLIAM DAVIS EDWARD CLARKE CHURCHWARDENS 1693
MADE BY WILLIAM & PHILIP WIGHTMAN

RECAST BY MEARS & STAINBANK 19 55

RECAST

19

79
WHITECHAPEL
Flat4 GRATIA AGO PERPESSUS ARDUA ASTRIS
19 55
Sanctus
Robertvs  mot  ²  me  Ȣ  fecit 1588
 

The Latin inscriptions are translated as follows:
1 One day ruination from the heavens, today rejoicing in the heavens
2 Her Majesty’s Air Force has restored me to my airy heights
3 Those to whom God gave the victory have given me back my voice
4 Sing to the Lord a new song (from Psalm 98)
Flat 4 I have outlived my troubles and give thanks to the stars
5  I sound now for life and death, having experienced both
6 The disasters of war are over. I live again and peal for joy
7 The victor’s gift, I sing God’s praise
8 Behold the church of an astronomer rebuilt by airmen
9 Through hardship to the stars
10 Praise be to God
At their dedication service, the bells were given the following names, although the names do not appear on the bells themselves:
1 Fabian Names after Fabian Stedman, the early pioneer of change ringing.
2 Dunstan The former Bishop of London and Archbishop of Canterbury.
3 Tom Named after Tom Mackintosh, who was General Foreman of hte first which carried out the rebuilding work of the church.
4 Anthony Named after W Anthony S Lloyd FRIBA, who was the architect for the reconstruction project, on behalf of the first W Curtis Green & Son and Lloyd.
Flat 4 Henry Named after Harry William Eldred, Managing Trustee of the Barron Bell Trust. The recasting and rehanging was managed by the trust which devoted a whole year’s income to it.
5 Samuel Named after Dr Samuel Johnson, poet and author of the English Dictionary, and regular attender at this church.
6 William Named after The Reverend William Pennington Bickford MA, curate here 1905 – 1910 and Rector until the church was destroyed on 10th May 1941 (he died the following month).
7 Dan Named after The Reverend Harry Dan Leigh Viener CBE MA KHC, who was the first Chaplain-in-Chief of the Royal Air Force.
8 Boy Named after Air Vice Marshal Sir Cecil A Bouchier KBA CB AFC who was the Director of the St Clement Danes’ Appeal Fund. “Boy” was the nickname that pursued him throughout his service career, and was evidence of the affection in which he was held.
9 Faithful Derived from the hymn “O come all ye faithful” and reflects the faithfulness of the RAF to the nation.
10 Boom Named after Marshal of the Royal Air Force the Viscount Trenchard GCB OM GCVO DSO DCL LLD,founder of the RAF. Trenchard possessed a deep voice, which earned him the nickname “Boom”.

EARLIER BELLS

The present bells replace those lost in the War (tenor since recast) which were as follows:

Bell

Weight

Diameter

Weight

Diameter

Note

Cast

Founder
(recorded by Walters) (recorded by Robinson)

1

4½ cwt 26" 4-1-0 26½" G

1844

C Oliver

2

5½ cwt 28" 5-2-0 28½" F 1844 C Oliver

3

5¾ cwt 30" 5-3-0 29" E flat 1693 W & P Wightman

4

6½ cwt 31" 6-2-0 31½" D 1693 W & P Wightman

5

7¼ cwt 32½" 7-1-0 33" C 1843 C Oliver

6

9 cwt 35½" 9-0-0 36" B flat 1693 W & P Wightman

7

11¾ cwt 39" 11-3-0 40" A flat 1693 W & P Wightman

8

12½ cwt 42" 12-2-0 42" G 1693 W & P Wightman

9

20 cwt 46¾" 20-0-0 48" F 1693 W & P Wightman

10

24 cwt 52" 25-0-0 53" E flat 1693 W & P Wightman
1. C OLIVER FOUNDER LONDON
 
2. C OLIVER FOUNDER LONDON
 
3. 1693
 
4. 1693
 
5. C OLIVER FOUNDER LONDON
 
6. 1693
 
7. 1693
 
8. 1693
 
9. 1693
 
10. MADE BY WILLIAM AND PHILIP WIGHTMAN
 
 
Walters notes “The lettering on the 1st, 2nd and 5th [the Oliver bells] in very low relief; these bells have unusually small canons. The 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th are by Wightman. Single canons broken on several bells, and canons of tenor gone."
The first post-War tenor, recast in 1979, was as follows::

Bell

Weight

Diameter

Note

Cast

Founder

10

21-1-17 49" E

1955

Mears & Stainbank
10. LAUS DEO

WILLIAM DAVIS EDWARD CLARKE CHURCHWARDENS 1693
MADE BY WILLIAM & PHILIP WIGHTMAN

RECAST BY MEARS & STAINBANK 19 55

HISTORY

1680-2 Church rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren.
1693 The 8 bells in the tower were recast by William and Philip Wightman. A brass plaque in the porch records that "The eight bells in this steeple were cast by Will. & Phill. Wightman, their Majesties Founders, Anno Dni. 1694, in the Tyme of Wm. Davis and Edwd. Clarke, and finished when Edwd. Clarke and Hugh Mills were Churchwardens. Weight 4t. 15c. 2q. 8l. The gift of Edwd. Clarke”.
1708 It was recorded that there were "8 noble bells to ring in a peal".
1714 It was recorded that there were "9 good bells".
1719-20   The steeple was added to the tower by James Gibbs.
1721 Clock installed by Langley Bradley.
1843 3rd (of 8) recast by C. Oliver.
1844 The bells were rehung in a new frame and 2 trebles were added by C. Oliver to make the ring up to 10.
1867 It was recorded that the sanctus bell was fitted with a wheel, although it hung disused in the upper part of the steeple.
1919 The bells were retuned and rehung in a new steel frame and dedicated on 17th July by the General-Chaplain of the Forces, in the presence of Queen Alexandra.  They had been silent for 7 years owing to the poor state of the frame.  In those days the bells were rung from the first level (ie 2 levels down from the present ringing room). The belfry was on the 5th level.
1919 17th July Bells were rededicated by the Rt Revd Taylor Smith, Chaplain-General to the Forces.
1941 10th May The church was almost destroyed by bombing and the bells were damaged.  They were taken down from the burnt out tower and stored in the porch ready to be taken away for safe keeping, but were then destroyed by a further attack.  The remains were stored in a brick shed pending recasting.
1955 A new ring of 10 bells was cast by Mears & Stainbank at Whitechapel. These bells included a semitone bell hung dead, used by the new carillon machine.
1957 The bells were hung in a new cast iron frame in the tower by Whitechapel who also installed the carillon. The clock was installed by Thwaites and Reed. The bells were brought down 1 level (to Level 4) and the new ringing room was brought up 2 levels to Level 3. The bells were hung in 2 tiers, with 5, 6, 7, the D bell and the sanctus bell on the upper tier.
1957 24th Jan Bells dedicated.
1958 19th Oct Restored church and bells consecrated.
1979   The tenor sustained damage by being rung after the tolling hammer had been interfered with.  It wrapped around the frameside, cracking it and breaking one of the bearing houses.  A lump was knocked from the lip of the bell and a crack started in the crown.  Repairs were carried out but over succeeding years the crack travelled from the crown of the bell and over the shoulder. It was recast in 1979.
2005   The tower was hit by lightning, burning out the carillon machine and clock, both of which were replaced. The new machine is capable of playing 60 tunes.
2004   All the bearings were replaced, runner boards and pulleys. 4 clappers had their tops refitted. The work was done by Whitechapel.

GALLERY

The louvres at the top of the tower, where the old bellframe used to hang.  Visible here is the concrete ring beam installed after the War. View of the bells from above.
The top tier of bells: 5, 6 and 7, flat 4th and sanctus. 1588 sanctus bell.
A view of the roof space. The lower tier of bells.
An attempt to photograph as many of the bells as possible in the single frame. The ringing room.  
A large board erected after the dedication. A plaque to Charles Winney. The church prior to erection of the current spire.
A series of photographs from the dedication of the new tenor in 1979,with thanks to Alan Taylor.