After a busy few months our bells are now at last back in action! They were dismantled during the last days of September, and all the moving parts taken away to John Taylor's & Co in Loughborough, after the bells themselves had been carefully lowered into their pits within the bell frame. While Taylor's were repairing or replacing the various parts of the mechanisms, the cast iron bell frame was painstakingly cleaned of rust and old paint right down to the bare metal, then treated with primer and hard-wearing paint.
When the mechanisms were returned in the second week of October the intricate job of putting everything back together began. The repaired bell-wheels were hoisted up the outside wall of the church tower and through one of the belfry windows. The ringing chamber was filled with all the beautifully refurbished parts - scarlet-painted clappers, new polished stays and sliders, running-boards and lots more.
On the afternoon of Monday October 30th, seven of us gathered in the ringing chamber at 4.30pm waiting for the last tweaks to be made up in the belfry. It was a long wait, but shortly before 6pm, the bell ropes were attached to the wheels and came snaking down into the ringing chamber! When they were fixed at the right lengths ("Up a bit! A bit more! Down a bit!...." ) we were at last able to start pulling up the bells one by one, while one of the bell-hangers, wearing ear-defenders, watched the bells from a suitable vantage-point in the belfry to make sure that all was well and nothing was catching or snagging.
When he was happy, we and the remaining two men from Taylor's rang all the eight bells together, very happy indeed with how they sounded - they were already beautifully-tuned bells - but particularly with how they handled. We rang "rounds" for several minutes, then a course of Grandsire Doubles with bells 6,7 & 8 covering.
All that remained over the rest of that week was a little final painting of the bell-frame, the reconstruction of a wooden viewing platform in the belfry, and making good some new holes that had appeared in the ringing chamber ceiling where four of the bell-ropes had been re-routed.
On Sunday November 5th the bells rang again for the morning service - this being the celebration of All Saints and the church's patronal festival, it was a fitting occasion for the bells to be back doing their job!
Our grateful thanks to the men from Taylor's who have put in many hours of tough, exacting and skillful work in cramped and often cold conditions, and particularly to the local volunteers who helped them and gave unstintingly of their time and effort. We thank our supporters and friends and all who have attended our fundraising events. Many of the team have worked very hard putting together grant applications, and we have had great support from local organisations as well as generous individuals.
We hope everyone will enjoy hearing the bells again, and the team are going to be working very hard to make our ringing sound better and better!
Meg Morton, tower captain
11th October 2017 - the repaired 3rd headstock on its way home!
Newly painted clappers looking good!
... and after!