The Sanctus Bell

The fleche
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The sanctus bell, also known as a sacring bell, was first used in the Middle Ages and continues in use today although it is more commonly found in churches of the Eastern Orthodox tradition.
The bell is rung to mark important parts of the liturgy. The word 'liturgy' denotes an act of worship but more specifically, the Eucharist. It is rung at St. Mary's during the prayer of consecration when the bread and wine are lifted up by the priest before the people folowing the recitation of the words used by Jesus at the Last Supper. The bell is also rung each morning and evening during the recitation of the Angelus before morning or evening prayer.
The sanctus bell is housed in a flèche (i.e. a narrow spire) above the Chancel. The bell is 20 inches (48cm) in diameter and weighs nearly 2 hundredweight (i.e. 224lb or about 102kg) and is tuned to the note of A. Unfortunately, the rope broke during 2005 and a replacement has recently been received. The relatively simple repair is quite costly because of the need to obtain safe access to the roof space and flèche to replace the rope.

St Mary the Virgin East Grinstead. Church of England Parish in the Diocese of Chichester

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