A few days ago, Reg posted in his dlog that we’d been watching a video programme by Dr. David Starkey, about the British Monarchy. We’ve got as far as King James I (also King James IV of Scotland), who reigned between 1603 and 1625. It’s really interesting to learn about the main events during each monarch’s time on the English throne and it made me wonder about what was happening closer to home. So, I thought I’d find out who was on the throne when some of the things first appeared in St. Nicholas Church, Laindon with Dunton.
Anyway, as you’ve probably guessed from the title, ‘A Royal Ding-Dong’, I thought I’d find out when the bells were first placed in the church. There’s a plaque which gives the dates of three of the five bells. The Tenor Bell (40 inches) dates from 1588 which was during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558 – 1603) and is also when the Spanish Armada, under the Duke of Medina-Sidonia set sail from Lisbon to invade England. Apparently, many local people think that the bell tower was built from timber beams which were taken from ships of the Armada but that isn’t possible because the bell tower was built in 1400s. It’s actually two turrets, one inside the other and is completely free standing, inside the church.
The bell that dates from 1619 (30 inches) was made during James I’s reign. The King James Version of the Bible was first published in 1611, just eight years before the bell first rang out over Laindon. James I was also famous for being the king that Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators tried to blow up in the Houses of Parliament in 1605.
The third dated bell was made in 1790, during the reign of King George III (1760-1820). He is famous for losing the American colonies and for going mad. It was thought for a long time that he suffered from porphyria but in recent times, other theories have been put forward, including the suggestion that he had arsenic poisoning from the medication which he was given to treat his madness. He wasn’t mad for all of the nearly 60 years that he spent on the throne and he found time to have fifteen children – and heir and plenty of spares.
There are two further undated bells, which I believe pre-date the Tenor Bell of 1588 and I hope to find out more about them soon.
Unfortunately, the enormous timbers of the bell tower are now beginning to rot and remedial work needs to be carried out to ensure future generations can enjoy it. Attempts are being made to secure some funds to do the costly work and my effort is my ebook ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’, which is a story that takes place in the church. If you look at the top right of the cover, you can see the bell tower of the church. All profits from this book will go towards the work to be carried out in the church. It can be purchased here from the publisher’s website or from any major ebook retailer.