Church of England Diocese of Rochester Westerham

The Bells of St Mary's

14 Aug 2019, 12:30 a.m.

There’s something very comforting for residents and visitors to England’s towns and villages to hear the church bells chiming the hours and quarters. Westerham has enjoyed the current chimes since 1883 when the current clock was installed, and it probably had a predecessor. Until about 50 years ago the clock was entirely mechanical, requiring the daily winding of huge weights which then gradually fell the entire height of the tower to power the clock. About 50 years ago, electric motors were installed to wind up the clock, with the weights now falling quite short distances, and the winding motors controlled by then modern technology.

Unfortunately, that control system broke and couldn’t be repaired with like – it involved mercury switches no longer used. The good news is that Smith of Derby have now modified the control systems of the clock and brought it back into full working order. The bad news is that the cost or replacing motors and controls was almost £10,000.

However, being a Church, we have much faith – and some very loyal supporters. Just as the work was finished, we received advice of a legacy which had to be used for a major piece of church maintenance. Further, a number of people responded to our previous article on the Church website with donations to the Trust, and to cap it all, the Heritage Trust agreed to settle any balance.

To all our supporters we offer our thanks; the chimes are now ringing from 8am to 10pm.