Hastings Old Town Parish

One Modern Parish, Two Medieval Churches

Bell Ringers and Handbell Group

St Clement with All Saints Guild of Bellringers

Rosemary Smith is the current Tower Captain of the two magnificent rings of bells in our parish. We are a friendly group who regularly welcome friends from other local towers in Hastings and the Sussex County Association of Change Ringers as well as visitors from other parts of the country or even further afield. We also welcome an interest in learning to ring. Why not join us?

Our practice day is Saturday between 13.30 – 14.00 and we alternate between the two towers and then usually retire to a local pub to discuss the practice and socialise.

Rosemary’s contact details: email Telephone 01424 718736

A Short History of St. Clement’s Bells

The first bell was hung in St Clement’s tower in 1607 and by 1717 there was a peal of six.

In about 1860 the six were removed and replaced by eight cast steel bells.

Over the years and due to their poor quality, an appeal was launched in 1961 by the then Mayor Alderman Cecil Barfoot J.P. for £3,500 to cover the cost of eight new bells and repairs to the tower. The new bells were cast by John Taylor at the Loughborough Foundry. The inscriptions that are on the bells can be read on the plaque under the tower window.

The oldest bell in All Saints tower is the 6, cast in 1602 by Edmund Giles in Lewes and would have been rung in observance of the Thanksgiving Act, passed in 1606 after the failure of the Gunpowder Plot.

The 5 was cast in 1697, the 7 and 8 in 1870, the 4 and 5 in 1903 and finally the Treble and 2 in 1922.

The Two Towers Handbells

We are a friendly and happy group! Why not come and see us in action! If you are interested in joining us, please be assured that previous experience is not necessary.

We meet in St Clement’s Church on Saturdays 11.30 – 13.00.

We play a variety of hymns and secular music with carols at Christmas under the guidance of our musical director Ken Bentall.

To find out more or to book the Group for a function:

Contact: Rosemary Smith (Bell Captain) email or telephone 01424 718736

A short History of our Handbells

The set of St Clement Handbells, which were presented to the Rector and Church Wardens in Advent 1894 by Miss Kingsbury for the use of The Guild of Bellringers, were renovated in 2015. A set of ten refurbished handbells was purchased for All Saints in 2016.

The Group’s first public performance was at The Reflection commemorating the 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. We were then requested by Harmony One to perform at their Christmas Concert A Winter’s Tale in February 2017. This was the first occasion on which we played significantly more complicated musical pieces. From these small beginnings we have grown! We now have ten faithful, enthusiastic members, a two-octave set of handbells and an extensive repertoire of wonderful music. More importantly, we are succeeding in our mission of outreach. In addition to being special guests at concerts, we also perform on a regular basis for local nursing homes and groups, as well as some a little further afield, providing not only entertainment but an opportunity for interaction which is a joy to us and those whom we visit, beneficial to old and young alike. We have also taken part in church events such as The Fall of Herod, the Christmas Tree Festival, the Harvest Supper and Night Church. We have also rung the first bells of Easter to celebrate the Resurrection.