The Bell Tower of St. Michael’s Church, Beccles, Suffolk A sixteenth century bell-tower in East Anglia, UK.
The Bell Tower of St. Michael’s Church, Beccles
The construction of this imposing building which dominates the small town of Beccles, was started in 1500 under the direction of the monks of the Abbey of St. Edmundsbury.
Built in the Perpendicular Gothic style, it stands 97 feet tall, and it is estimated that its weight is 3,000 tons.
Bell towers were usually built to the west of churches, but this is built to the southeast of the church. The main reason being that to the west of the church is a steep embankment with the River Waveney at the bottom, so building a structure of such an enormous weight would be inviting trouble! Another good reason for positioning it where they did is that is has a very prominent position in the town.
The very thick walls of the tower are faced with Roche-Abbey stone. There are 100 steps to the top of the tower, and there is a spectacular view of the Waveney Valley from there. Clock faces can be seen on three sides of the tower, the west side being the only one without. The tower has 10 bells, and bell-ringing can frequently be heard.
St. Michael’s church, which dates back to 1369, was where the parents of Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson were married in 1749, so I should think the bells rang for them, although there were only eight bells at that time.