New user? Register here:
Email Address:
Password:
Retype Password:
First Name:
Last Name:
Existing user? Login here:
 
 
Gazette >

Tribute to a bell

bu Margaret Duggan

IT WAS the largest bell in Britain when it was cast in 1858, and was called the Great Bell of Westminster. Today, however, it is better known as Big Ben. It was the second attempt by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry to cast a bell so large — the first had cracked while being tested.

The new 13-ton bell rang out over London for the first time on 31 May 1959, but, within a couple of months, that, too, had cracked. A lighter hammer was substituted, and the metal around the crack was removed to prevent further damage.

Why it is called Big Ben is still a matter for argument, but tradition has it that it was named after the distinguished Welsh MP and Commissioner for Works, Sir Benjamin Hall. He was an early champion of the right of Welsh churches to have services in Welsh.

He later became Baron Llanover when his wife inherited the Llanover estate in Monmouth diocese, and he is buried in the churchyard of St Bartholomew’s, Llanover (above).

It is there that the original casting of Big Ben is to be celebrated early next month. Bell-ringers hope to ring a full peal on the five bells of St Bartholomew’s, which should take about two-and-a-half hours. They will wait, with a radio, and begin as soon as Big Ben strikes noon.

Job of the week

National Advisor For Pioneer Development

London and Home Counties

With its network of parishes covering the country, the Church of England plays an active role in national life, bringing an important Christian dimension to the nation as well as strengthening community...  Read More

Signup for job alerts
Top feature

Poet who crossed frontiers

Poet who crossed frontiers

To mark the 50th anniversary of the death of T. S. Eliot, Martyn Halsall examines the writer's work in order to map his spiritual journey  Subscribe to read more

Question of the week
Is the Church being too slow to introduce the Living Wage?

To prevent multiple voting, we now ask readers to be logged in. This is free, quick and easy, honestly. Click here to login or register

Sat 28 Feb 15 @ 14:33
RT @MadsDaviesDr Nersessian: what is happening today is not on the scale of 1915 but it is a genocide #ArmenianGenocide

Sat 28 Feb 15 @ 14:26
RT @MadsDaviesDr Vrej Nersessian now speaking on Armenian Christian tradition: 100 years since Armenian genocide