Tom Mason on Christ Church Bells (22nd December 1950)
On Christmas morning we shall be hearing a joyous Peal from the Christ Church bells.
The sound is familiar to most of us who live In Southgate, but it is not generally known that it is a notable Peal.
It has been stated that the bells form one of the most musical peals in the country. Their fame is known abroad too, for it is on record that early in this century a clergyman from the Antipodes came to hear them, with instructions to order a similar peal.
In addition to the peal the tower also contains the old service bell of, the Weld Chapel. This was given by Lady Joan Brooke, eldest of sister Sir John Weld, founder of the chapel. She married Sir Robert Brooke of Cockfield, Suffolk. This old bell is inscribed: “1616 God be praised good speed. Gifte of the Ladye Joan Brooke”
This bell was the only one in the tower of Christ Church for 12 years. In 1874 a peal of eight bells was installed, four of them in memory of Arthur George George of Canon House. One was given by his mother and the other three by his friends. The remaining four were paid for by public subscription,
The George family lived in Cannon Hill for many years and took a prominent part in the affairs of Southgate. The large west window in Christ Church was put there in memory of John Lutwyche George and of Agnes Elfrida George.
In 1885 the clock and chimes were placed in the tower in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. No more additions were made until 1920, when two more bells were added in memory of Arthur Rowland Barker and Ada Barker, by their children.
The makers of the 1874 peal were Mears and Stainbank of Whitechapel. It is said that the bells at Youlgrove (Yorkshire) and those at the Roman Catholic Church of Sta Maria, Sheffield are the only ones comparable to the bells at Southgate. They were cast by the same founders.
One bell of the 1874 peal bears the following inscription: –
I call the living, mourn the dead;
Tell when days and years are fled.
For grief and joy, for prayer and praise,
To Heaven my cheerful voice I raise.
When you hear the bells on Christmas morning, I hope these few notes will give them an added interest.