Merrow’s original bells were made by Richard Eldridge, a bell founder at Wokingham and Chertsey from 1593 to 1622. The present ring of six bells were given by the parishioners to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897, replacing original bells dating from as early as the 16th century.
The Ringing Room
The Ringing Room contains the bell ropes with their brightly coloured sallies, and a set of handbells. It also houses the clock, which was built into the north wall in 1843, and has given remarkable service ever since. A single striking hammer strikes on the tenor bell on the hour only. The hammer was originally fixed to the treble bell, which proved too weak in sound to be heard far away.
On the west wall is a plaque stating that the bells were re-hung in 1946 to remember Seaton George Legge Eustace, Churchwarden 1929-44, and to thank God that in his latter years his household suffered no harm from the attacks of the enemy.
St John’s bells range in weight from the treble (bell 1) – the lightest with the highest note – to the tenor (bell 6) – the heaviest at over 13 cwt.
Ton vs Tonne – You may recall there are 20 cwt per ton (2,240 lb) and 1000kg per tonne (2,204.6 lb).
Renovation, repairs & fund raising 1977-2020 The bells were re-hung in a new frame and refurbished with metal headstocks in 1977 and renovated again in 2016, including replacement of the ropes. Most recently, essential ringing room refurbishment, together external and internal sound attenuation work was carried out in 2020 around the COVID restrictions. The cost of this work was £11,000, £3,500 was provided from the ringing guild Bell Restoration Fund, leaving £7,500 for the Parish to fund.