St Sennen

The Church Bells

St Sennen Church Bells

Little is known about the original bells except for the report of a visit to the church by Dunkin described in his book The Church Bells of Cornwall which was published in 1878.He reported that  ‘ Few Cornish belfries that have come under my inspection are in a worse state than that at Sennen. The floor, covered with rubbish to the depth of half a foot or more and with fragments of broken bells scattered about presents a sad spectacle. It is surely time that a restoration of the belfry was set on foot and carried out. There are probably many visitors to the Land’s End who would gladly assist in such a work’.

He recorded the inscriptions and details of the bells as follows:

1. + The Rev’d Richard Pearce minister Tho’s Nicholas John George churchwardens

Cast by Thomas Bayley Bridgewater 1762 (Diameter at the mouth 28 inches).

2. + John Permewan  Nicholas Pascoe. Church Warden  C.Bonney. 1810

(This bell lies on the belfry floor in a useless state. Diameter at the mouth 31 ¾ inches).

3. + John Permewan and Nicholas Pascoe Church Wardens. C.B.1810

(This bell is completely broken to pieces. Diameter at the mouth 33 ¾  inches.)

 It is believed that the founder of bells two and three, C. Boney, came from Padstow. In the Churchwardens accounts of Kenwyn Church an entry appears:

‘August 4th 1806 Paid Mr Boneys journey from Padstow to Kenwyn to inspect the bells and make an estimate of new casting etc. £1.12s.0d.’ 

A Caleb Boney is listed as a watch and clock maker during the period 1790 - 1820 in Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World. A number of long case clocks inscribed with the maker’s name ‘C. Boney Padstow’ are to be found today.

The situation discovered by Dunkin in 1878 must have endured for sometime because it was reported in the Gentleman’s Magazine sometime between 1862 and 1864 concerning Sennen’s bells that

‘The tower has two bells: one lies on the belfry floor; it was cast by Thomas Bayley of Bridgewater in the year 1762. The other bell was cast in 1810’

Apart from the bell cast by Thomas Bayley of Bridgewater in 1762 Sennen must have possessed other bells at that time because the Churchwardens’ accounts of the eighteenth century show ‘ payments made for beer on ringing night’.

In 1889 Mears and Stainbank augmented the bells to five by casting five new bells using the metal from the existing bells; the scrap metal weighed a total of 17-3-21. They supplied a new oak frame (£60) and new fittings (£33.5s.0d.) at total net cost of £166.5s.2d. A report of the dedication of the new bells appeared in the Bell News of 1889:

‘three old bells (18cwt) recast into a peal of five in A (total weight 23cwt) cast and hung by Mears and Stainbank. Rung for the dedication on Saturday week (March 1890) by the Lanteglos ringers.’


Inscriptions on the bells in 1889


Treble:            ‘Ring out o’er land and sea’.

2:                     ‘To the glory of God’.

3:                     ‘Many Donors Through Mary H Isabell’

4:                     ‘A Memorial of Rev R.J.Roe’s devoted ministry 1871 - 1886

Tenor:             ‘Recast 1889 John Isabell, Rector; Ed. Trembath. Wm. Hollow, Wardens’.

In 1951 John Taylor & Co cast a new Treble bell and recast the Mears and Stainbank Treble to become the second and recast the Mears and Stainbank Tenor. They also supplied all new fittings and extended the bell frame to carry the new Treble. The bells were dedicated on 6th October 1951.


Inscriptions on the bells today


1. John Taylor of Loughborough. ‘St Maria’ 1951

2. Recast by J.Taylor &co. 1951 cast by Mears and Stainbank 1889. ‘To the Glory of God’.

3. Mears and Stainbank Whitechapel Foundry London 1889 ‘To the Glory of God’.

4. Mears and Stainbank Whitechapel Foundry London 1889. Many Donors through Mary H Isabel.

5. Mears and Stainbank Foundry London 1889 A Memorial to Rev.R.J.Roe’s devoted Ministry 1871 - 1886.

6. John Taylor & Co. Founders Loughborough Recast and peal augmented to six in 1951. W.R.Morris, M.A. Rector. S. Hosking and J.R. George C.W.                  'Audemus Docemus Odlentigus’.





Nominal Note



Founder Canons



1714.0 G#



John Taylor & Co F



1540.0 F#



John Taylor & Co F



1336.0 E



Mears & Stainbank R



1262.5 D#



Mears & Stainbank R



1121.5 C#



Mears & Stainbank R



1000.5 B



John Taylor & Co F

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