• Share
  • Read Later

"Oranges and lemons," Say the bells of Saint Clement's.

"You owe me five jar things,'' Say the bells of Saint Martin's. "When will you pay me?" Say the bells of Old Bailey.

"When I grow rich," Say the bells of Shoreditch.

"When will that be?" Say the bells of Stepney.

"I'm sure I don't know," Says the big bell of Bow.

Of 259-year-old St. Clement Danes Church, which lies like an island surrounded by the traffic of the Strand, only the walls and tower still stand. Of St. Clement's eleven bells, six have been destroyed. A month after the blitzing of St. Clement's last spring, its vicar, the Rev. Mr. William Pennington-Bickford, died—of a broken heart, his parishioners said. Last week his widow was buried beside him. She had jumped to her death from an attic window after telling her cook: "I prayed every night that God might take me too."

Of London's other famed bells:

St. Martin-in-the-Fields was one of London's first blitzed churches. A bomb penetrated the crypt, but the bells are sound. The Church of St. Sepulchre stands opposite Old Bailey, which was hit three times, but the church, whose tenor bell once tolled for executions, has so far escaped. The Shoreditch bells are untouched. Incendiaries burned holes in the roof of St. Dunstan's, Stepney, legendary church of all those born at sea. The windows were blasted, but the church and its bells are intact. Bow Church was damaged; its bells remain.