Clock & Bells


The Clock & Bells.


A clock was installed in the Tower in 1849 as part of the original Church construction and appears to have given service until it was replaced in 1911.


This replacement was installed to mark the Coronation of King Edward VII. At the same time a set of 6 bells was donated by Mr & Mrs Philip Kirkup to mark their Silver Wedding Anniversary. An automatic striking mechanism was installed as part of the new clock which allowed the bells to chime quarters and hours in the style of Westminster Chimes.

Both the clock and chiming were weight driven and had to be wound by hand.

Electric drive units replaced the weights for both clock and chimes in the 1960’s.

In 2006 the drive unit for the clock needed to be replaced when the gearbox failed due to age. The new unit includes an electronic control which automatically corrects the clock for the twice yearly hour change and will also restart the clock at the correct time after a power cut.

The clock was built by Potts of Leeds, who continue to maintain it.


The six bells are hung on the floor above the clock. They are fixed to beams (as opposed to the swinging type generally shown in views of belfries) and are rung in two ways:

the chimes are struck by hammers mounted outside the bells and operated by wire linkages from the clock.

Hand ringing is by clappers swinging inside the bells and worked by ropes from a carillon on the clock floor.


Apart from the chimes, the bells continue to be used regularly for weddings, tolling at funerals and ringing for special Services or occasions.


The Bells








Diameter (inches)







Height (inches)







Bell no 6 (the Tenor) is inscribed:


Taylor Founder Loughbrough

This peal of bells was presented to Birtley Parish Church by Mr and Mrs Phil Kirkup of Leafield House to commemorate their Silver Wedding and were first rung for Divine Service February 19  1911.

Click on pictures for larger view.

Newspaper cutting about proposed new bells (1910)

New bells ready to be hung (1911)

Service of Dedication of bells (1911)

Our thanks to the Kirkup family for the above historic items and permission to display them.

The bells and the hand ringing carillon 2010.

(only 5 bells can be seen due to the confines of the belfry).

Two of the chime hammers can be seen mounted on the board below the far bells.

The clock mechanism


The wires to the chime hammers can be seen above the right hand side .

The clock & bells celebrated 100 years of service in Feb 2011. They were rededicated on Sunday Feb 27th , 2011  by Rt Rev Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow, during a Parish visit.

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