These articles were collated & produced by Walter A Perry © 2008
Sudbury's Church Bells - According to the 1553 Inventory
St. Peter's
Tower, Spire & Clock Bell
Kebylls Bell inscriptions of 1470/80
The Sudbury Founders

St Peter's Sudbury

The restoration of St Peters bells in 1978, with the addition of two new bells celebrating the Queens Silver Jubilee and the 250th anniversary of Thomas Gainsborough's birth, was a year out but due to delays we were ten months overdue. Mention should be made of the help and sponsorship from Philip Lait company and Hobal engineering. The magnificent response of artists from a very wide area, professional and amateur who donated oil, watercolours, pen and ink drawings. All were displayed on the viewing day and subsequently auctioned the St. Peters of Sudburyfollowing day. Raising sufficient money to purchase the bell, commemorating Thomas Gainsborough's birth, which is known as the artists' bell. Bruntons cast a plaque in bell metal marking the occasion with Leslie D Mills and Ray Playford named as the driving force that accomplished this enterprise. It was a wonderful year for St Peters, although a redundant Church it epitomizes Sudbury, and the focal point of the town centre. (More information on St. Peter's can be found here)

The other bells the 3rd and 4th of 1874, created eight bells. The new clock was installed and with the two new bells the Cambridge Chimes could be used and the hour struck by the tenor bell. The clock is still doing service but now powered by electricity instead of being wound up by hand. The 6th by James Edbury regarded as one of his best bells. The series of initials on the inscription may well be those of the donors of the bell.
The three Kebyll bells of circa 1480, 7th 8th and tenor, are renowned for the very high quality letters, particularly the capitols in their Latin inscriptions.

Translation of the Latin text:-
7th Sit Nomen Dommini Benedictum - Blessed be the name of the Lord.
8th In multis annis refonet campana Johannis - May Johns bell sound for many years. Tenor Intonat e celis vox canpane Michaelis - The voice of Michaels bell thunders from heaven.

9th Miles Gray of Colchester is of the 1st Miles Gray.

The Clock chimes known as the Cambridge chimes are rung on the 4th, 5th, 6th and 9th
bells. The hour is struck on the tenor bell. The verse of the chimes is: -

All Through This Hour.
Be God Thy Guide
That By His Power.
No Step May Slide

The Suffolk Guild of Ringers maintains the bells.

For ringing of a bell. At the Vestry meeting on 2 April 1777 it was agreed to allow John Lilly for ringing the bell at five in the morning and again at nine in the evening. Payment two guineas a year.

In 1863 The Rector, Rev Sir John Molyneux became aware that the bell ringers were planning to ring the bells in celebration of the Prince of Wales wedding, which was during Lent. Not approving of weddings in Lent he locked the belfry door. Undeterred the ringers gained access with ladders onto the roof and then into the ringing chamber via the roof door. The populace enjoyed the bells and sustained the ringers with food and a generous supply of drink, hauled up onto the roof by spare bell ropes.

back to top of page

Kebylls Bell inscriptions of 1470/80 at St Peters

on the seventh, eighth and tenor, acknowledged as the finest nationally.

One of Sudbury's treasures. A national gem of outstanding bell founding skill rivalling the best that can be given by the carpenter, mason or any other craftsman, to adorn our Churches. Hidden away in the belfry unseen, and not even known of by almost all who visit and admire our beautiful Churches.

Depicted below are the capitols and a cross taken from the inscriptions of Kebyll's three bells, just as if they have been written by a scribe on vellum. The skill Kebylls the bell founders of 1470/80, not only leaving us with such beautiful script, his bells are equally as good.
back to top of page

Kebylls Inscriptions of 1470/80 at St. Peters
back to top of page