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Martham Church ~ The Tower & Bells



The castellated tracery of the west window suggests that it dates from the end of the 14th century.  The tower is finely proportioned, 98 feet in height on the outside with a spiral staircase of 119 steps.  The arch between the tower and the nave is exceptionally fine and allows the maximum of light to flood into the church from the west window.  At the millennium a new development was constructed in the tower in order to provide, on the ground floor, a kitchenette, a toilet and a small meeting room, on the first floor, a larger meeting room and above that a new bell-ringing chamber.   The screen in English Oak was made and decorated in blue and gold leaf to reflect the Victorian chancel screen.  The architect and designer for this was Ruth Blackman of the firm Birdsall, Swash and Blackman of Hingham, Norfolk. The work was carried out by the firm A.J. Cooper of Calthorpe, Norfolk.  In July 2000 the Bishop of Norwich, the Right Reverend Graham James came to dedicate the finished work.




Bell      Founder                               Date    Weight


Treble  John Stephens, Norwich      1717    5cwt,1qtr.18lbs


2           John Stephens, Norwich      1717     6cwt,2qtr, 14lbs


3           A & W Brend, Norwich         1611     7cwt,2qtr, 20lbs


4           R Brasyer, Norwich               C15th   8cwt, 3qtr, 8lbs


5           Meers & Stainbank, London 1862   10cwt,1qtr, 2lbs


Tenor   R Brasyer, Norwich                C15th  12cwt, 2qtr, 8lbs


The peal is tuned to the key of F (697Hz)


The original inscriptions on the bells are as follows:


Treble“John Stephens bell fovnder of Norwich made me 1717”


2nd.“Christo Burraway; John Keme.  Chvrchwardens.  John Stephens fecit 1717”


3rd.“Roger Stannow N.G.T.R.E.  Anno Domini 1611  AW B” ; on the crown is “Robert Linsy, Clarke.”


4th.“x Petrus Ad Eterne  Ducat Nos Pascue Vite”; on the crown is “ser ric grauour” and three shields (Brasyer).  Alice Skowe of Martham, by will dated 1468, appointed Thos Skowe, her husband, and Sir Richard Gravoure, her son, executors.


5th.“GOD AMEND WHAT IS AMES AND SEND LOVE WHER NON IS 1660 T.B.”  (Thomas Brend).  NB. In 1860, this bell was broken, and has since been recast with the original inscription and date, but with the following addition, “Recast by G Mears and Co. of London, 1862”.


Tenor.“ CMIRGLDHNEAOKQVPSFTXB” and a shield (Brasyer).


In 1552 there were four bells of 8cwt, 12cwt, 15cwt & 20cwt.

NB.  The 15cwt tenor (listed above) was probably recast in 1717 and sacrificed to create the new treble & second bells, bringing a ring of five bells up to a ring of six.


In recent times the bells had stood silent for over 70 years due to an unsafe wooden bell-frame in the upper belfry.  


Early in the 1990s a decision was made to have the bells removed from the old frame, restored and retuned and refitted in a new frame lower down in the tower beneath the old frame (the old wooden frame remains in situ in the upper belfry).


The current treble and 3rd bells were repaired by welding at Soundweld, Newmarket, Suffolk, before all six bells were tuned and equipped with all new ringing fittings for re-hanging in a new fabricated steel frame during 2000 by Tony Baines.


A small local team of dedicated bell-ringers now ensure that the sound of the bells once again rings out for Sunday morning services and also weddings and if required, funerals.



the ringing gallery the tower view from the south east tower view 2018 carnival weekend tower view #2