The Glen Group

Bell Tower

Ringing Chamber: Photo S. NottinghamThe Leaning Tower

... of Surfleet St Laurence attracts a great deal of comment from visitors. It is built in the earlier Decorated style (1270-1350). During or soon after its construction the foundations began to sink in the Fenland soil. Consequently the tip of the Spire, added some time later, is 6’4½” out of perpendicular. A cross on the floor of the tower near the door marks the point directly below the tip of the spire.

Owing to the lean of the tower, two bells are technically hung outside the foundations of the church.

World's Lightest Peal

Until the late 1970s the bells, hung for change ringing, were the lightest peal of twelve bells in the world. The bells are hung in two tiers and are rung full circle from the ground floor.

History of the Bells





 Bells rehung in a new frame by John Cabourn of Sutterton -
 evidenced by a tablet over the tower door.



 Revd Henry Law James was appointed Vicar.



 A Treble was added to the existing five bells.  



 Ninth and Tenor bells recast and four Trebles added



 2 Trebles added in memory of Revd Henry Lloyd James 
 (first Master: Lincoln Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers)



 Bells rehung by Taylor's of Loughborough. 


Notable Bellringers at Surfleet

Revd Henry Law James and his brother Edward Bankes James were prolific ringers and composed and conducted many peals. They are both buried in the Churchyard near the Priest's Door.

Rupert Richardson rang 781 peals in his lifetime, in this country and abroad - the first at Swineshead in 1901 and the last at Pinchbeck in 1946. He kept a record of all of his peals (many with his wife Annie) in 8 volumes of beautifully illustrated Peal Books.

Rupert was also a Master of the Lincoln Guild and to commemorate his death in 1947 an extra bell was added to the peal at Lincoln Cathedral, and a tablet placed in the tower at Surfleet to record the gift by members and friends of the guild.

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