Exciting news over here! I’ve got more info on the bells of Grace Episcopal Church of Chicago! You may recall in my first post on these bells that these formed a chime for the church in the early twentieth century and later formed the basis of the carillon at the Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, then later at Northwestern University. Special thanks to Newland Smith, once again, for finding and providing me with these new details.
First off, we have a better idea why the chimes were given back to the donors, the Clinches. It wasn’t just that there was no room in the new church tower, but also that the chime would be too disruptive to the patients at St. Luke’s Hospital next door.
The chime was not actually installed at the Seabury-Western Theological Seminary until 1936. On March 25, 1936, the Bishop of Chicago, the Rt. Rev. George Craig Stewart, D.D., led the service of the Institution of the Bells. The Clinches had also donated the funds to construct the tower and spire to house the chime at the seminary. The tower was in memory of Mrs. Clinch’s parents and sister, A. Tracy Lay, Catherine Ruth Lay, and Margaret Smith Lay, hence the name for the chime at the time, the Lay-Clinch bells.
We now know the inscriptions on these nine original bells.
Bell 1: A thank offering from Richard Floyd Clinch and Katherine Lay Clinch/These chimes presented to Grace Episcopal Church, Chicago, A.D. 1901/’Praise God from whom all blessings flow.’/’O Give thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious and his mercy endureth forever.’
Bell 2: The Margaret S. Lay bell, Sept. 20, 1901./’Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.’/’I am the resurrection and the life.’/’Thy will be done.’
Bell 3: ‘To the greater glory of God.’/My name is Clinton Locke./Priest of this parish, 1859-1895./’I call together the flock.’
Bell 4: The historical bell./This parish was organized 1851, Dearborn and Madison Streets./Removed, 1856, to Wabash Avenue and Peck Court./Removed, 1869, to Wabash Avenue and Fifteenth Street.
Bell 5: The Sunday bell./’We announce the sacred day of rest.’/’We assemble the people for worship.’
Bell 6: The sacramental bell./’Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace, good-will towards men.’
Bell 7: The Patriotic bell./’God bless our native land.’
Bell 8: The bridal bell./’Joyful our peal for the bridal.’/’On those who at thine altar kneel, O Lord, thy blessing pour.’
Bell 9: The burial bell./’Mournful our plaint for the dead.’/’I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.’
You may have noticed a discrepancy in the number of bells—a couple of my archival sources (which I reported in the former post) say there were twelve bells in the original chime, while the more recent reports that include the inscriptions say nine. I still need to see the remaining bells to confirm that the original low G bell is up in the bell tower, and that there are two recast bells with the inscriptions listed above. A new source says that all of the original bells, save the G bell, were recast by Petit & Fritsen when the carillon was made in 1953, and that seems to be the most likely fate for them.