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The Bells of St Mary's, Brading

The Original Bells

By 1709 there were four bells in the tower, the earliest of which was cast 115 years earlier in 1594. The other two bells were cast in 1604 and 1622 respectively. these four bells remained unchanged until 1887, when four new bells were added.

The details of these bells are;

1    1604      4-3-24      R.B.

2    1709      6-2-10      Clement II Tosier

3    1622      7-3-24      R.B.

4    1594      10-0-5      Anthony Wakefield


The Current Bells

To celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887 the four bells were augmented to eight by the addition of four smaller bells. The original treble (smallest bell), cast in 1604, was recast at this time into a heavier bell so that it blended with the other seven bells. The remaining three original bells were restored and tuned and the new ring of eight was hung in the tower in a new oak bell frame. All the new bells were cast by the Mears & Stainbank foundry in Whitechapel, London.

The details of the current bells are;

1)    1887     G      3-2-1      Mears & Stainbank

2)    1887     F#     3-3-7      Mears & Stainbank

3)    1887     E      4-1-22     Mears & Stainbank

4)    1887     D      4-3-27     Mears & Stainbank

5)    1887     C      5-3-1       Mears & Stainbank

6)    1709     B      6-2-0       Clement II Tosier

7)    1622     A      7-2-25     R.B.

8)    1594     G      9-3-19     Anthony Wakefield


The Tenor Bell

The largest bell in any ring is called the Tenor which is also the deepest toned. The smallest bell is called the Treble and is the highest toned. The Tenor bell at Brading weighs nearly 10cwt or 504kg which is about the same as a small city car or six and half men. It was cast in the reign of Elizabeth I in 1594 by Anthony Wakefield of Chichester and it is his heaviest surviving bell. The rest of his bells are located in Sussex. Here it is pictured below.

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