Dorking, St Martin
Practice Night: Monday
Ringing Times: Sunday Service: 8.50-9.30am (not 2nd Sunday). Practice: 7.30 -9.15pm
Entry: Entry to the tower is outside on the north side below the tower. Car park accessed off High St opposite White Horse Hotel.
Contact: Tower Contact - Andrew Dorman firstname.lastname@example.org : 01306 743587
The church is an imposing Victorian building in the centre of the town with a spire 210 ft. to the top of the weather vane. The present church was designed by Henry Woodyer and completed in 1874. It replaced the Intermediate Church built around 40 years earlier, which had been a development of the earlier medieval church, and considered locally to be unsatisfactory. A fascinating account of the complexities of these buildings is contained in “The History of St. Martin’s Dorking” published by the Friends of St. Martin’s in 1990.
The bells, acquired over the years since 1626, were re-hung in 1877 when the spire was completed. Records show that since the 1950’s, at least, there was concern about the bells and in the early 1990’s surveys suggested that the bells had really been too big for the tower, which accounted for the difficulty in ringing them. With the deterioration of the wooden frame the prospect that they would become unringable in the near future was becoming a reality. Thanks to the opportunity of 50% funding from the Millennium Commission Fund for restoring bells for ringing in the New Millennium, it was seen to be possible to replace the bells with a completely new frame and a newly cast Taylors Ten with a Tenor weighing 18 cwt, largely using the metal from the original bells. With support from the Guildford Diocesan Guild and the Surrey Association, together with numerous local organisations and individuals, this was achieved and the new bells dedicated on 31st May 1998. The Tenor is dedicated to A. Patrick Cannon (1914 - 1982), a noted Dorking ringer known as ‘The Tenor King’, with the original bell cast in 1626 by John Wilner being retained as ‘The Vicars Bell’.