Westhorpe Bells

History and restoration of the five bells at St Margaret’s Church including the significant Mary Tudor Bell. This site records the restoration project of the bells

The Five Bells of St Margaret’s Church, Westhorpe

The village of Westhorpe has royal connections.  Mary Tudor, the younger sister of Henry VIII, lived here in the early 16th century with her husband Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Mary is said to have worshipped at St Margaret’s Church and it is certain she would have heard our ancient bells ringing out across the meadows.

The five bells which hang in the tower now have not been rung full circle since the First World War as the 15th century oak bell frame is in disrepair.  A chiming system was used up until early 1970 but since then the bells have been silent. Over the years, consideration has been given to restoring the bells but the cost was an obstacle thought to be insurmountable.

Village resident and church treasurer, Clive Mees, having trained as a bell ringer, initiated the formation of a small steering group and in October 2021, the A-peal for Mary Tudor was launched in the village hall.

Our project partners include The Suffolk Guild of Ringers, Suffolk Wildlife Trust, The Ganzoni Trust and the National Heritage Lottery Fund. The residents and friends of the village have contributed to the Appeal financially in so many ways and we are indebted to them for their support.

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