Bell Physical Object

Accession Number
Creation Date
circa 1700
Embossed "Henrietta Marie 1699". 



39 cm H x 36.4 cm W , Item (Overall)

32.2 kg Weight

33.8 cm Diameter

Exhibition Label
The bell from the 1700 London slave ship Henrietta Marie has played a crucial role in the history of the shipwreck. When the site was first located in 1972, it was dubbed the “English Wreck.” But 11 years later, in 1983, the discovery of this bell bearing a name and a date revealed the wreck’s true identity; with that the ship’s history was laid bare. The Henrietta Marie bell is 36cm tall, with a mouth 41cm dia.; it weighs 24kg. Though the original clapper is missing, striking the bell sounds a D5 note (listen here: ). Ship’s bells were used to measure time in half hour increments through four-hour watch cycles. The bell was rung once to mark the first half-hour of the watch; “eight bells” marked the completion of the fourth hour of the watch. A ship’s bell could also be used to sound a general alarm, and it could be rung in bad weather to signal the ship’s location. The ring of the bell would have been a regular, persistent sound throughout the Henrietta Marie’s voyage.