"The deep, melodious chimes of a clock add beauty, solace and comfort to your home. To each of the chimes there is a story. To each there are words."
The world's most famous chimes are the Westminster. Nearly everyone associates the Westminster chimes with London's famous Big Ben of the Houses of Parliament. Originally, however, they were fitted to the clock of the University Church, St. Mary's the Great, in Cambridge, England. The chimes are believed to be saying the simple but beautiful prayer:
"Lord, through this hour,
Be thou our guide
So, by Thy power
No foot shall slide."
The story of St Michaels Chimes is one of adventure. The bells were cast in London and installed in St Michaels Church steeple in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1764. When the British took over that city during the Revolutionary War, they took the bells back with them to England. Then a Charleston merchant bought them in England and sent them home to America. In 1823, when cracks were found in some of the bells, they were sent back to London to be recast. In 1862, during the seige of Charleston, they were moved to Columbia, South Carolina, for safekeeping, but Sherman's army set fire to that area and nothing but fragments remained. These were sent back to London once more, where the original molds still stood, and again the bells were recast. In February 1867, the eight bells were reinstalled in St Michaels steeple, and on March 21 they rang out joyously:
"Home again, home again
From a foreign land."
The Whittington Chimes originally rang in the church of St. Mary le Bow, Cheapside, London. In the 14th century, they became famous through the legend which connects them with Dick Whittington. The boy, escaping from the drudgery of his master's housekeeper, thought he heard the chimes say:
"Turn again, Dick Whittington,
Thrice Lord Mayor of Londontown."
Dick Whittington turned back to London and eventually became Lord Mayor.