In 1732–34, when William Kent was called upon to make sympathetic reconstruction of the east range of Clock Court in Wolsey's Tudor Hampton Court Palace, he naturally turned to the precedent of Tom Tower for his "central ogee dome with its coronet of pilaster-like gothick finials" The tower of Dunster House at Harvard University is a direct imitation of Tom Tower, though its details have been Georgianised, and stones from Christ Church are installed in one of the house's main entryways.
Great Tom, housed in the tower, is the loudest bell in Oxford. It weighs six and a quarter tons and was moved from the 12th-century Osney Abbey after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Aside from a student prank in 2002 when the clapper was lagged (enclosed or covered with a material providing insulation), Tom has sounded every night since the Second World War. Originally called "Mary", Great Tom was moved from Osney Abbey to St Frideswide's church in 1545, after which at some point it was renamed "Tom". It had caused problems since its first casting, wearing out its clapper, and was recast in 1626 and 1654, but without solving the problem (there is no evidence of a recasting in 1612).
In 1678–79, Richard Keene of Woodstock tried three times to recast the bell, in the process increasing its weight from two to over six tons, but it was not until a final recasting in 1680 – by Christopher Hodson, a bell-founder from London – that success was achieved, and the resulting bell, Great Tom, was hung in the newly completed Tom Tower. It was rehung in May 1953. There is an inscription on the bell in Latin, which translated reads:
"Great Thomas the door closer of Oxford renovated April 8, 1680 in the reign of Charles II. Deacon John, the Bishop of Oxford and sub-Deacon give thanks to the knowledge of Henry Smith and the care and workmanship of Christopher Hodson".
Great Tom is still sounded 101 times every night, which signifies the 100 original scholars of the college plus one (added in 1663). It is rung at 21:05 current UK time, which corresponds to 21:00 in what used to be "Oxford time" (local mean time for Oxford, noon in Oxford always occurring five minutes later than noon in Greenwich), and was at one time the signal for all the Oxford colleges to lock their gates. The bell is only rung by swinging on very special occasions. The bell is the subject of a number of Oxfordshire Morris tunes and rounds, including "Old Tom of Oxford" (from Bampton), and the rounds "Great Tom Is Cast" and "Bonny Christ Church Bells", which were composed by the Dean of Christ Church, Henry Aldrich (1647–1710). However, "Great Tom Is Cast" is also credited to Matthew White written in 1667. The two versions are identical except for two notes. Considering the dates, it is likely that White is the real author of the piece.