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

Marketing Officer

West Midlands

Marketing Officer CPAS is seeking to appoint an experienced marketing professional who can help us reach a variety of audiences - from church leaders to parents and young people - that benefit from o...  Read More

Signup for job alerts
Top feature

The mother of English prose

The mother of English prose

In a new book, Janina Ramirez argues that Julian of Norwich should be seen as the female Chaucer  Subscribe to read more

Top comment

What the Church needs is a new Reformation

The anniversaries of rallying calls by Martin Luther and John Robinson suggested an unfinished agenda, argues John Saxbee  Subscribe to read more

Sat 1 Oct 16 @ 17:01
Interfaith climate activists are urged to unite for their cause https://t.co/5TczCM3D5t

Sat 1 Oct 16 @ 16:59
Can dogs dream of a boneyard? https://t.co/g6PWHmB87x