St Bartholomew’s, Tong
The Bells at Tong
The bells of Tong Church
There are two bells in the tower at Tong which date from the fifteenth century, the tenor , 1451 and the Sanctus bell 1467. This last was rung at Mass when the elements of bread and wine were consecrated on the altar. Many churches still continue this practice, though it is silent at Tong . It was given by Sir William Vernon .
Lowering the Great Bell
Ring a repair
Not counting the Sanctus bell, there is a peal of 6, rung from the floor of the church which demands some experience as the draught is very long and the floor sloping. Below the six is The Great Bell for which Henry Vernon had the tower altered. It was cast in 1518 and originally weighed 2 tons 18 hundredweight and was 6 yards round. There is a legend that Sir Henry was once benighted in the immense forest of Brewood, but he heard the bells of Tong and followed their sound, thus arriving safely home. The Great Bell was damaged in the Civil War as the village was the scene of a set-to between the Roundheads and Cavaliers ( 1635) – as evidenced by the cannon ball marks on the church and the 12-pound granite cannon ball in the vestry. It wasn’t re-cast till 1720. All of its vicissitudes are written on the bell itself in Latin.
The Great Bell
On Ash Wednesday 1848 the bell cracked and spent many silent years until a great restoration in 1892 when it was somewhat reduced in size and now only weighs 2½ tons. It was brought down once more in 1950 and then 2020. There is the means to remove the floor just above the central altar so that it can be lowered with only an inch or two to spare. In 2020 it took 40 minutes to bring it down after much preparatory work – quite a skilled operation, but because of the outbreak of Covid 19 in 2020, it had to remain on the floor of the church for the three months lockdown. It was eventually removed and taken to Taylors Bell Foundry in Loughborough for the fitting of a cast iron headstock which was recommended instead of a wooden one. It is hoped that this work will prepare it for another half century or so.
The Bell Tower
When the bell tolls
We have recently had the stability of the tower checked because The Great Bell is swung like other church bells whereas some other large bells are just struck with the clapper, so don’t actually move. The central tower, which is unusual, helps with stability and the architect gives us a good report. However in 1892, the Church Wardens were anxious about the size and weight of the Great Bell so they decreed that it could only be rung or tolled on certain occasions and those rules , written for all to see are still adhered to.
2020 AND BEYOND
Working towards a bright future…
Looking after the valuable infrastructure of the church as it has evolved over the centuries, whilst at the same time ensuring that it is fit for a range of purposes deemed important in the twentry first century is an on going challenge. You can find out how we are rising to that challenge on the pages dedicated to the 2020 Vision Project by clicking the link below.
Would you like to help us?
The Tong Vision for 2020 and beyond had a target to raise £500,000 over 3 years in order to fund urgent and
essential restoration work, and to ensure that all visitors and congregations can continue to enjoy this unique building! If you can
offer your support either financially, in-kind or otherwise, please contact Revd Pippa Thorneycroft ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) or
the Vision2020 “Support Us” page on this web site, or visit our JustGiving page by clicking on the image, below.
A big thank you to all our supporters! Particular thanks go to the following:
St Bartholomew’s Church
General enquiries to:
Minister In Charge:
The Revd. Preb. Pippa Thorneycroft
Tel: 01902 375523 email@example.com
Tel: 07970 869011
(Weddings. Baptisms etc.)
Find us on Facebook:
If you have visited us, for whatever reason, we would really appreciate it if you would visit our Facebook page and leave a comment, review or a picture or two!
Would You Like To Support Us?
The Tong Vision for 2020 and beyond has a target to raise £500,000 over the next 3 years in order to fund urgent and
essential restoration work, and to ensure that all visitors and congregations can continue to enjoy this unique building!
If you can offer your support either financially, in-kind or otherwise, please contact Revd Pippa Thorneycroft (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit our JustGiving page by clicking the image, below.
At present there are no toilet facilities at Tong Church. For an organised tour and at weddings, baptisms and funerals as well as Sunday services, access to the Parish Hall (two minutes walk) is available. For concerts and fêtes we usually provide portaloos.
If you find it difficult to walk up the slope to church to attend services please let us know by sending someone ahead or Tel: 07970 869011 and we will provide assistance. We regret that we are unable to offer this support during the week for visitors.
St Bartholomew’s Church, Tong is committed to Safeguarding and has adopted the National and Diocesan Safeguarding Policies. Our Safeguarding Coordinator is Lisa and she can be contacted on 07535 159421.