The bell at St. Jørgen’s Church

Church bell at St. Jørgen's Hospital. Photo: Bergen City Museum.

It has been a long time since the bell rung out in the small wooden steeple at St. Jørgen’s Church, but in the past, the sound of the bell was part of everyday life for the hospital residents and those living nearby. It was rung at fixed times of the day, for church services, and for funerals when requested. 

The accounts of 1717 refer to ‘a bell that Sl. Theves Dominicus cast in Holland made from the 1702 incinerated bell metal’, i.e. from what was left of the old bell after the city fire. The bell that hangs in the steeple today bears the inscription ‘From Prahls Støberi in Bergen 1850’, and actually came from the neighbourhood, as Prahl founded the city’s first iron foundry in nearby Marken five years earlier. The bell is relatively small with a diameter of about 55 cm at its widest point. It is not in use today.

Hilbrandt Meyer recounts that in the 18th century, a cord hung from the bell down into the church so that the bell could be rung from there, which was normally done by one of the residents. A dedicated ‘bell ringer’ was hired later on.

Receipt church bell. Bergen City Archives. Photo: Ingfrid Bækken.
The accounts show the payment made to Prahl ‘for the new church bell’.
Photo: Ingrid Bækken. Bergen City Archives.
Budget proposal 1943. Bergen City Archives.
Budget proposal for St. Jørgen’s Hospital for 1943, including salary for the bell ringer.
Bergen City Archives.
Drawing bell tower, by Egill Reimers 1955. Directorate for Cultural Heritage.
Survey and drawing of the church steeple, by Egil Reimers 1955.
The Directorate for Cultural Heritage.

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