The Curfew Garden is a ¼ enclosure situated off Knockhundred Row, next to the Old Library.


It is believed that in the 12th or 13th century, the parish church’s curfew bell was heard miles away by a commercial traveller hoping to find shelter for the night and drew him to the town. In gratitude, the traveller purchased the land now known as the Curfew Garden, with the intention that fruit and vegetables grown there would provide a fee for a bell ringer to ring the curfew bell.

There are no known records of the gift of the land and very few about the people who rang the bell.  However, it is known that the Parish Clerk, Henry Pitman, occupied the land and tolled the bell for 51 years from 1793 to his death in 1844. His son, Richard Pitman, then occupied the land and rang the bell until at least 1860.

It is believed that the bell was rung every night for approximately 600 years until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, when the ringing of church bells was prohibited, except in the event of a hostile invasion. The ringing of the bell by a bellman was never revived and since 1989, the striking of the curfew bell has been driven by a computer in the church.