St James Garlickhythe - Garlick Hill, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 30.667 W 000° 05.637
30U E 701648 N 5710669
Quick Description: The church of St James Garlickhythe has a bell tower that contains eleven bells, three of them being clock bells. The other eight were cast in 2012 and used in the Queen Elizabeth jubilee celebrations before being installed in the church.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 4/14/2015 5:14:36 AM
Waymark Code: WMNPHV
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 0

Long Description:

Wikipedia has an article about the eight bells that have become known as the Royal Jubilee Bells:

The Royal Jubilee Bells are a set of eight bells that were cast for the church of St James Garlickhythe in the City of London, which were seen on television around the world leading the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3 June 2012 for the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II.

The project was conceived and run by Dickon Love, who had earlier installed new bells in the other City of London churches of St Dunstan-in-the-West (in 2012) and St Magnus the Martyr (in 2008). The bells were cast by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in 2012. Bells 2, 7 and 8 were cast on 17 February with the remainder on 9 March. The casting of the bells, especially the largest bell, was extensively covered by the media.

The funds to pay for the new bells and their hanging at the church was raised by Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley, Parish Clerk. Bells were sponsored by the Vintners’ Company, the Dyers’ Company, the Glass-Sellers’ Company, Charles Bettinson, Joanna Warrand, Tony Stockwell and Tony Kassimiotis, Andrew and Wendy Parmley. Each of the sponsors chose an inscription including a dedication on each bell. Each also displays the Royal Arms (by permission of Buckingham Palace) and the name of a senior member of the Royal Family.

On 11 Jan 2012, the bells were granted the title “Royal Jubilee Bells” by Buckingham Palace, on advice from the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform.

The largest bell weighs 9 long hundredweight, 1 quarter and 25 pounds (481 kg) and sounds the note G sharp. (Bellringers normally calibrate bells in terms of hundredweight.) The remaining bells form the major scale in G sharp.

A 6m high tower and frame made of cast iron and steel was designed and first erected in a warehouse in Fircroft Way, Edenbridge, Kent. Following a visit by HRH The Prince of Wales to view the bells at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry on 15 May, the bells were hung in the new frame and a test ring took place on 17 May. The tower was then dismantled and taken to Denton Wharf near Gravesend where it was re-erected on the quayside and hoisted into the vessel “Ursula Katherine” on 24 May.

A band of nine ringers from the Ancient Society of College Youths, led by Dickon Love, met on 26 May to test the bells on the river. This was the first time that bells such as these were ever rung to changes on a river, and while the motion of the boat and action of the wind presented difficulties, the band was able to ring a full peal comprising 5056 changes in the method Cambridge Surprise Major, taking 3 hours 6 minutes.

The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant was held on 3 Jun. It officially started at Albert Bridge with the ringing of the treble bell from the Ursula Katherine, which moved into the centre of the Thames to lead the 1,000 vessel flotilla. A quarter peal was rung of 1250 Cambridge Surprise Major, taking 48 minutes, after which other pieces of change ringing were performed.

Limited coverage was provided by the BBC which had a cameraman on the Ursula Katherine. This coverage was presented by John Barrowman, who had earlier been given bell handling lessons by Dickon Love at St Magnus the Martyr in the previous few weeks. John briefly rang one of the bells with Dickon as the barge passed near London Bridge.

The bells and tower were dismantled on 6 Jun. During the previous three months, a new ringing room was constructed in the tower of St James Garlickhythe and a new bellframe was installed. The bells were delivered to the church on 15 June and arranged along the central aisle. They were dedicated by the Rt Revd John Waine on Sunday 17 June and hanging commenced in the tower shortly thereafter. They were rung for the first time in the church on 4 July. The first quarter peal was rung in the tower on 22 July after a service where their ringing was dedicated, and the first peal was rung on 25 July, comprising 5152 changes of Jubilee Surprise Major in 2 hours 56 minutes.

The training of a new band of ringers for the church commenced in September 2012.

Wikipedia also has an article about the church that tells us:

St James Garlickhythe is in the shape of a rectangle, with the tower adjacent to the West and a protruding chancel (uniquely for a Wren church) projecting from the East. It is built from brick and Kentish ragstone, partly stuccoed, partly faced (since World War II) with Portland stone. Entrance is through a pedimented doorway with a cherub keystone in the tower, which is flanked by pairs of round headed windows in the west wall. Above is a recessed clerestory wall joined to the tower by semi-rounded pediments.

The south front, facing Upper Thames Street, was formerly built against, and it has only become the main façade since 1971. It is five bays long, with blind round headed windows, the one in the centre being much larger. Above the four outer windows are round clerestory windows. These additions were only made in 1981. The north front is similar, although the windows are real.

The 125 foot tower was originally stuccoed. The plaster was removed in 1897 and old photographs of the church show the undressed wall. It was faced with Portland stone after World War II. The clock on the West, with the image of St James is a 1988 replica of a 1682 original. The figure of St James originally stood between two urns. The tower is plain, with round headed belfry windows, until the spire. At the top is a parapet with stirrup shaped piercings and squat urns on the corners. The stone spire was designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor and is similar to those of St Stephen Walbrook, St. Michael Paternoster Royal and, to a lesser extent, the west towers of St. Paul’s Cathedral. It has three levels. The lowest is square, with a contraption of two columns standing in front of two pilasters protruding from each corner on top of which is an entablature and tiny urns. This is linked to the next stage by corner volutes, with a smaller square stage with more urns, and at the top is a tiny concave stage. The whole is capped with a flag finial.

Sacheverell Sitwell stated the spire suggested the grinding out of bell music by turning, as in a hurdy-gurdy. The vine leaf and grape motif gates to the west were a gift from the Vintners' Company.

The church was designated a Grade I listed building on 4 January 1950.

A Bing bird's eye view of the church can be seen here.

Address of Tower:
St James Garlickhythe Church
Garlick Hill
London, United Kingdom


Still Operational: yes

Number of bells in tower?: 11

Relevant website?: [Web Link]

Rate tower:

Tours or visits allowed in tower?: Unknown

Visit Instructions:
Please post an original picture of the tower taken while you were there. Please also record how you came to be at this tower and any other interesting information you learned about it while there.
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