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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

March 1701 - Henry Pleasant undertakes to make and maintain a clock. This did not have the facility to strike the hour. No provision was made in Henry Pleasant contract of March 1701 for his clock to strike the hour.

August 1790 - Michael and John Jones to take down the spire on St Peters Church, repair any ruiness timbers, being unfit to support a new spire. Make and erect a new spire to the same height as now, pointed and leaded, at a cost of £20.

1810 - The new spire was erected, and sheathed in copper. Why the twenty year delay is unclear. However louvered openings were incorporated in the spire for a clock bell to sound from. (Clear intentions were made that the next clock would strike the hours)


1820 - Henry Pleasant clock is replaced by a new clock at a cost of £62, which clearly had the facility to strike the hours.

1831 - A clock bell approx weight of three cwts cast by T Mears fecit 1831. This was the first and only clock bell.

1874
- The 1820 clock was removed and the present clock was installed by Messr Gillett & Bland, Croydon. Two new bells were cast, making a ring of eight bells, and the Cambridge chimes could be used on the bells leaving the hour to be struck on the tenor bell. This now left T Mears clock bell of 1831 redundant, but remained in the spire.

1954 - The tower was declared unsafe and ringing was stopped. The bells were virtually impossible to be rung.

1958 - The clock bell was taken down and put in the bell chamber.

1968/69 - The spire was taken down. To reinforce the structure of the tower two concrete ring beams were installed.

1973 - The bells which had to be removed for the major repairs to the tower were returned and hung in fixed position on a steel girders, the clock bell was not fixed in such a way but left standing on the floor.

1976 - The Friends of 8t Peter were formed and efforts were made to get the bells re-hung for full circle ringing.

1978 - The bells were taken down and sent to the Whitechaple bell foundry.

8th October 1978
- The dedication service celebrating the re-hanging of the bells, along with the two new bells, making a ring of ten bells. 1977 was unique year as it commemorated the Queens silver jubilee, and was the 250th anniversary of Thomas Gainsborough's birth. The second bell was the gift of East Anglian artists who donated oils, watercolours and prints, which were viewed, sold and the money paid for the purchase of the bell known as the artists bell. The old clock bell of 1831 was used to help make the two new bells.

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Henry Pleasant's clock for St Peters, Sudbury. Henry Pleasants agreement of 1701

Transcript of an Agreement between the Churchwardens, Overseers and Chief Inhabitants of the town and Henry Pleasant bell founder, to make a clock.

(As written)
Memorand that it is agreed between the present Churchwardens, Overseers and Chief Inhabitants of the parish of St Peter in Sudbury whose names are hereunder subscribed, and Henry Pleasance of the same parish, belfounder this 31st day of March Anno domi 1701 as followeth.

Imprimis that the said Henry Pleasance shall well and workmanlike and with his best skill and art, make and frame one substantial Church clock with a pendulum to ye same as large and or rather better than for use as generally made. And shall set up and fix the same in such place of the Church or Chappell of St Peter afores'd as the Churchwardens and Overseers or the greater number of them shall appoint: And further that the said Henry Pleasance shall from time to tyme and at all tymes during his abode in the said parish as a parishioners thereof lyable to ye paying of parish rates and performing parish duties keep and maintain the said clock with its necessary supports, stays and appendages in good and sufficient repair and in such good order that with our winding up it may keep and perform true constant and regular mocton (motion).

And in consideration thereof it is agreed on the part of the said Churchwardens, Overseers and parishioners that the said Henry Pleasance shall during such tyme of his abode in the said parish as aforesaid be wholly free and exempted from ye payment of all parish rates and assessments and from all parish offices and duties to which he may be lyable during his abode as a parishioner in the said parish.

Thomas Hall Thomas Mann Henry Pleasant
Tho Firmin Tho Dansie  
Will Hall Sam'll Brasior  
Danoll Gibbon Nath Gilson  
John Baker Edward Hart  
Joseph Wait Henry Ballonay  
John Pack John Mizon  
Tho Taylor    

(Note:That the contract drawn up makes Henry's name as Pleasance, whereas Henry signed as Pleasant. Other occasions Henry is referred to as Pleasant in documentation. It would seem that his surname was often spoken in the plural sense.)

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