200 years later, Paul Revere bell’s ‘sweet sound’ still rings true

Published in The Boston Globe Feb. 23 print

Among the bustle of downtown Boston, the faint sound of a bell can be heard from King’s Chapel on Tremont Street. Two hundred years ago it was no different.

The one-ton bell, crafted by Revolutionary War icon and Boston native Paul Revere, was installed in the chapel two centuries ago on Tuesday.
“It’s an eerie but beautiful sound to hear while you’re walking down Tremont Street,” said the Rev. Shawn Fiedler, assistant minister of the chapel. “It’s a blend of the new and the old.”

There is not a history of celebrating the bell at the chapel, he said, but the church does honor its historical importance by giving tours and ringing it.

The bell rings many times a week for worship services and special occasions, Fiedler said. The US Supreme Court’s decision for marriage equality and the New England Patriots’ 2015 Super Bowl win were two of these occasions, he said.

A tour of the chapel’s crypt and tower is the only way to see the bell up close, Fiedler said.

The original bell for the chapel was made in London and installed in 1772, but it cracked just before a church service less than 50 years later, Fiedler said. Revere cast a new bell of similar size that was installed in 1816.

King’s Chapel is the only church downtown to have a bell made by Revere specifically for the church, Fiedler said.

Over the years, the bell has remained in good condition because it was “made well,” Fiedler said. Beams, the swinging apparatus, and ropes that hold the bell have been replaced to ensure the bell continues to toll.

“Paul Revere called it ‘the most sweetest sounding bell,’” Fiedler said, “And he’s right.”

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