Hark to the Pig Bell

Curfew bell tower from Moreton in Marsh
Curfew bell tower from Moreton in Marsh

From the official website of Sandwich in Kent:

Sandwich is now a quiet attractive town with a market every Thursday, four schools, a small cinema, a library and many public houses. The ancient buildings still remain along with some of the ancient traditions.
On St. Bartholomew's Day, August 24th, children run around the church of St. Bart's. After completing the circuit they are given a bun and the adults are given a biscuit especially baked for the occasion.

That's nice!

The Curfew Bell is still rung from St. Peter's Church every night at 8 pm. This used to be called the Pigbell as it signalled the time that the animals could be put on to the street and that people should put out their fires.

Hark to the Pig Bell!

"Don't forget to be home by Pig Bell!"

"The children of Sandwich in Kent had always arranged their hours of play around the ringing of the Pig Bell, which marked the end of games and fire," et cetera.

There used to be a bell called the Goosebell rung at 5 am but this was discontinued at some time last century because people no longer wished to wake up so early!

Goose Bell!!

"I'm exhausted, I've been running around from Goose Bell to Pig Bell."

"Rise and Goose Bell!"

"Opening hours: From the ringing of the Goose Bell to the ringing of the Pig Bell."

"Please submit a response by the close of Pig Bell."

In the past, the Hornblow (the moot horn can still be seen in the Guildhall) sounded to call every citizen to the Guildhall or at an earlier time to St. Clement's Church, for a Town Meeting. There were fines for those who did not attend. Today nobody sounds the Hornblow but there are still Town Meetings and although now voluntary, they are still well attended.

"Sarah, which bell was that? I've been so preoccupied with Dag's cold that I couldn't tell you if that was Goose Bell, Pig Bell, or Hornblow the moot horn, I'm that run off my feet."

An honorable mention go to Kirkby Stephen Parish in Cumbria:

At eight o'clock each night the town clock bell at Kirkby Stephen Parish Church rings out eight times for the time and once for every day of the month.
This is the Taggy Bell which denotes when everyone should be at home. Similar to the medieval curfew bell but the Taggy Bell is said to have its origins in our Norse heritage when the Taggy of the Mist would get all children out at night.

Sleep tight, and don't let the Taggy get you. See you in the morning at Goosebell!

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]