This is great fun and probably the main reason to visit St Mary’s Church! As well as the clock mechanism and bells, there are wonderful views from the top. It is not for the faint hearted or anyone who dislikes ladders or heights…
There is a charge of £4 and entry is via a door near the north door.
A narrow wooden staircase and an even narrower passageway lead to the the bell ringing chamber with the bell ropes hanging from the ceiling and boards with details of past peels rung.
The clock mechanism is here, carefully protected in a glass case after renovation in 2013. The clock was installed in about 1561 and is one of the oldest church turret clocks in the country still functioning.
Steep ladders lead to the bell chamber with eight massive bells weighing almost 5 tons. The bells were cast in. 1775 replacing the bells recovered after the French raid in 1377.
An even stepper ladder leads out onto the top of the tower, where a narrow walkway gives 360˚ views over the town and surrounding area. The gilded quarter boys on the clock are modern fibreglass copies. The originals are in the Clare chapel.
There are views inland across the roof tops towards the station and hills beyond. Looking the other way, there are views down to to River Brede and the Strand, and also across the low lying Romney Marsh to Dungeness Power Station.