The Tower contains a ring of 8 bells; the weight of the tenor is 10¼ cwt, installed in 1977 by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. The metal for seven of the bells came from Immanuel Church, Streatham, the remaining bell the number 3, was already in the tower, cast from metal which may date from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The new ring was cast around this bell.
The inscriptions on the bells reveal some of the history of Chelsea Old Church. The treble, given by the members of the Children's Service, number 2 given by the Congregation. 3, the Original, recast in 1957 as the gift of Clifford Manley in memory of Rose Manley. The number 4, Immanuel. The 5th given by the Cadogan Family, and 6, Arthur Stride, sometime Church Warden and his wife Bunny. Bell number 7, dedicated in the Silver Jubilee Year of Queen Elizabeth II. The tenor has Sir Thomas More, our most illustrious parishioner, born 1478.
For information about the bell ringers please contact Bede Northcote, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ashburnham Bell
In the porch, placed upon brackets on the wall, is a bell, which was presented to the church by the Hon. William Ashburnham, in 1679, in commemoration of his escape from drowning. It appears, from a tablet on the wall, that Mr. Ashburnham was walking on the bank of the Thames at Chelsea one very dark night in winter, apparently in a meditative mood, and had strayed into the river, when he was suddenly brought to a sense of his situation by hearing the church clock strike nine. Mr. Ashburnham left a sum of money to the parish to pay for the ringing of the bell every evening at nine o'clock, but the custom was discontinued in 1825. The bell, after lying neglected for many years in the clock-room, was placed in its present position after a silence of thirty years.
Old and New London: Volume 5. Originally published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, London, 1878.
Bells described in 1921
The peal of bells placed in the tower at the rebuilding of 1670 was recast in 1762, and bore the following inscriptions:
Tenor—Di[vo] Lucæ Medico Evangelico Balduinus Hamey Phil Evangelicus Medicus D.D.D. 1678. Recast in the year 1762. Robert Yates and Richard Davis C.H. Wardens. Thomas Janaway of London made us all.
7th.—Robt Yates & Richd Davis C.H. Wardens 1762 T. J. Fecit. Slone Ellsmere Rector D.D.
6th.—Thos Janaway of London made us all 1762.
5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and Treble.—Thomas Janaway of London fecit 1762.
Of these only No. 4 remains; the rest were sold in 1824. A bell given by the Hon. William Ashburnham, who left money for ringing it every night at 9 o'clock, is preserved in the ground stage of the tower. The ringing was discontinued in 1822 or maybe 1825 as above.. The bell is inscribed:
THE GVIFT OF THE HONORABLE WILLIAM ASHBVRNHAM ESQVIER COFFERER OF HIS MAIESTIES HOVSHOLD 1679.