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1815: The most complete peal ever witnessed

Updated: Dec 9, 2023

The Waterloo Bells, Holy Trinity Church

The victory of Waterloo, in June 1815, was celebrated in Cuckfield on 4 September by The Society of College Youths, a bell-ringing fraternity, who rang a complete peal of 5,088 changes in three hours three minutes, ‘the most complete peal ever witnessed to have been heard’ on newly-hung eight bells. The eighth bell bears the inscription ‘The six bells recast and two new ones added - the whole by subscription AD1815, Rev. Joseph Fearon, Vicar, William Clutton Esq. Samuel Waller Esq. churchwardens’. A memory of Waterloo is still preserved in a notice hanging in the vestry:

‘A collection will be made in the Parish Church of Cuckfield on Sunday, 30th July after the morning service for the benefit of the brave men killed and of the wounded sufferers of the British Army under the command of Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington in the signal Victory of Waterloo, when the very smallest contributions will be acceptable’.

A Chronicle of Cuckfield by Maisie Wright, 1991

The Bells were re-cast by voluntary subscription, to which all persons connected with Cuckfield, with one or two trifling exceptions, contributed.

Brighton Gazette, 29 March 1855

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

Visit Cuckfield Museum, follow the link for details



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