St Mary's Church Bell Tower Wind Vane

This wind vane has been on the Bell Tower since 1785

On top of the St Mary’s Church Bell Tower has been a wind vane. The wind vane has been there since 1785 and came down due to wind in 2019. This is the first time most people had to see the wind vane in detail.

After 235 years it is in remarkably good condition, but it still needed a restoration job. The TV program “The Repair Shop” were asked to look at it. They agreed to see it and Father Lesley, the vicar, took it to them on Wednesday 28th August 2019. It has since been restored by their expert. The pictures on this page show the bad shape it was in.

How it looks after repairs is on this page.

St Mary's Church in 1848 showing the wind vane. At this time it had compass direction as well.
St Mary's Church in 1906 showing the wind vane.
St Mary's Church on 27th August 2019. Wind vane is missing.
Phil Coley
St Mary's Church wind vane on 17th August 2019. The date of 1785 is clearly visible. There are two letters above it which may be the makers. We think they are "NB". The tail feathers are suffering from wear and look like they have fallen off or rusted away. The vane is painted and shows up remarkably well.
Phil Coley
St Mary's Church wind vane head shows the cockerel's comb is bent over. Also noticeable is the damage to the paintwork which may be general wear and tear but may be because in the early 20th century there are rumours that the wind vane was used for target practise by users of the rifle range at the Anchor pub.
St Mary's Church wind vane tail shows similar damage of the paint work as in the head. The placement would be consistent with rifle shots to make the vane spin around. There also seems to be a head between the two letters "NB", however this could just be general damage to the wind vane accidentally making a face. The amount or rust is very evident resulting in the loss of the tail feathers.
Phil Coley
St Mary's Church wind vane showing the damage on the other side. The cock comb is now clearly seen. However, generally the wind vane is in poor condition.
Phil Coley
St Mary's Church Wind Vane

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  • I’ve just watched a repeat of the program.

    Can’t help but wonder if the “NB” is for North Benfleet.

    Is it possible it was made for the Church there, and later moved?

    For my take on the matter – please see my article on this site, entitled ‘Henry Brewitt’ Pam J. Bird-Gaines (Ed.)

    By TB Parkes (01/11/2023)

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