Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for tea.

George II Coronation Bell

Between the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics, we have certainly seen our fair share of pomp and circumstance this summer, and I for one couldn’t be happier. I love pomp and circumstance. And of course, tea.

Which is why I found the story about this George II bell so interesting.

When George II was crowned in 1727, there was plenty of pomp and circumstance surrounding the occasion. And not only surrounding, but hovering above it as well. During the coronation procession, the king was seated beneath a canopy – a canopy decorated with little silver bells.  A certain Sir George Oxenden, MP for Sandwich, eventually ended up owning one of the little historic bells. You can see it in the picture above.

We all know that little bells really aren’t much use without a handle, so at some point around 1740, Sir George had one attached.   Coincidentally (or not), tea was becoming extremely popular in England at this time , especially drinking tea at breakfast. We can only surmise that our MP was a tea drinker (can you be from a place called Sandwich and not drink tea?) and used his newly handled bell to ring his servants every time he fancied a cuppa.

At which point they would have muttered the words of this post title.


Image used with permission by Dr. Lucy Worsley.