Cudham Church

The tower contains a peel of 10 bells, the oldest of which was cast in 1490 by Thos. Bollesdon and is inscribed “Ora pro nobis, Sancte Paul”, “Pray for us, Saint Paul”.  An inventory of 1553 records there being 4 bells in the steeple, probably, therefore, including a St Peter bell and 2 others which were replaced in 1661 by two cast by John Hodson.

The tenor bell was recast in 1890 and the four bells hung in a frame with space to hold six eventually.  In 1920 a new treble was added, bringing us to a ring of five bells.  In 1929 a new bell was added to complete the ring of six.  A prominent parishioner Mr Rolla Richards died and left a sum of money for three new bells and a tower clock with quarter chimes.  The bequest provided an extra bell in addition to the ones agreed and this brought cudham up to the current very light peal of ten.  The total weight being less than 44cwt (approx. 2235kgs).  The four new bells were set on a new frame above the old frame.

The bellringers rang a quarter peal to celebrate HM The Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh's Platinum Wedding Anniversary on Monday 20th November.  They also rang half muffled on Remembrance Sunday.  The muffles are attached to the clappers as a sign of mourning and make the bells sound quite different.

The bells were rung on New Year's Day to welcome in 2018 at 11.30am.  Our pre-reformation bell is still being rung which is a comforting thought to think of the sound of that bell, ringing out over the valley for over 400 years.

Downe Church

The earliest written reference to the tower is in an inventory of 1552 when there were 'three bells of brass suted in the steeple'.  Two of these bells were already over a hundred years old, having been cast by William Dawe(s) who worked between 1385 and 1418.  The other, by a different maker, dates from 1511.  Only five churches in Kent have bells hung for change ringing which are older than these three at Downe.

Three more bells were added in 1903, one to commemorate the coronation of King Edward VII.  The Millennium was rung in on the night of December 30th/January 1st 2000 by a band of local ringers.

Ringing is a ‘folk Art’ which is carried from one generation to the next and one of our present members’ grandfather was Tower Captain in his time at Downe.  We are a happy band of ringers of mixed ages who enjoy ringing on Sunday mornings, for weddings and for Village Events like the May Queen Celebrations.  It is especially gratifying to be thanked for instance, for Ringing in the New Year when people were gathered around the tree to greet the New Year by singing ‘Auld Lang’s Eyne’.


Are interested in becoming a Bell Ringer? answer these few questions -

Do you have the strength to push a child on a swing?

Do you have the co-ordination to swim, ride a bike or drive a car?

Do you have the time to come to practices on a Monday evening and when you have learned to ring, can you give half an hour most Sunday mornings?   You need not necessarily be a member of the congregation.

It keeps you fit as well!

Cudham and Downe support one another and run joint practice sessions at Cudham on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the Month and in Downe on the 2nd and 4th at 8 - 9:30pm.  If there is a 5th Monday, we try to get a band together in the towers at Downe.

If you like the sound of Church Bells and would like to join the bellringers  or would like to find out more about the bells, we would love to hear from you.  Please contact Bridget (Downe) or Alison (Cudham) via the parish office on 01959 571515 or email