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1892: For whom the bell tolls

Updated: Dec 5, 2023


Deaths of inhabitants

An occurrence, happily not usual, at Cuckfield, on Wednesday, was the ringing of the death bell three times. On that day the death took place of Mr John Gander, a retired farmer, who in former years held Hanlye and Horsgate Farms, Cuckfield and had also held a farm In the district of Worth. Mr Gander bid reached a very advanced age.


The other two deaths were of Mr Hudson, who for many years was gardener at Cuckfield Park, and Mr Newnham, gardener to Mr Capps, Stafford Lodge, Cuckfield.


18 February 1892, Tunbridge Wells Journal


John Gander was 82 and was buried in the churchyard on 15 February.


There were six bells dating from 1633 but in 1815 they were re-cast and two more added to give the set that still ring out today. According to Tower Captain David Wilson, 'The original bells were probably cast in the church yard by itinerant bell founders who were paid according to the weight of the bells.' The new bells however were weighed – the lightest coming in at 5 hundredweight (250 kilos) and the heaviest 15 hundredweight (750 kilos). The 'new' bells were cast by Mr J Mears Bell Foundry of London which became The Whitechapel Bell Foundry. The bells survived a fire that broke out in the church spire on 1 May 1980 but some of the wooden fittings were damaged. Information from Cuckfield Life. For information on the Whitechapel Bell Foundry closure check out: https://www.apollo-magazine.com/whitechapel-bell-foundry-open-market/


Contributed by Malcolm Davison.


Visit Cuckfield Museum, follow the link for details https://cuckfieldmuseum.org.



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