The original peal of eight bells to be included in Wren’s post-fire church was cast in the 1670s at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Then they weighed 115 cwt., but all that remained of them after the War was 25 cwt. of metal, which was incorporated in the present peal.
The present bells, cast in 1957 again at Whitechapel, are somewhat smaller than those in Wren’s church. Because of the fire damage and consequent possible weakening of the structure it was felt that a lighter peal might be kinder to the church tower. For the best tonal effect they were also placed lower in the tower, where space was more limited. Smaller though they are, the bells are considered to be the best peal of eight in the City.
The Whitechapel Bell Foundry has made bells for 400 years. Among famous castings are the bells of Westminster Abbey: the hour bell of Big Ben: the original Liberty Bell of the United States in 1752 and the peal of 13 for Liverpool Cathedral, and Bow Bells our neighbour.
There is one other bell at St Lawrence. It is on the south west roof of the church and is rung before services. It bears the inscription, “EECE POST IGNE, VOX”, after the fire a (still small) voice. This quote, from 1 Kings 19:12, reminds us that we can find God in the quietness of this place even in the business of our city.
The details of the present peal of bells are below.
Diam. Weight Note Diam. Weight Note
Tenor 4’ 3” c/24.3.2. E 4th 2’ 11” c/8.1.6. B
7th 3’ 9” 17.0.23. F 3rd 2’ 9” 7.1.7. C
6th 3’ 5” 12.2.9. G 2nd 2’ 7” 6.0.13. D
5th 3’ 21/2’” 10.1.15. A Treble 2’ 6” 5.3.21. E