News of our Village Bells
We can quote our Churchwarden at the outset of this News
“Now for the EXCELLENT NEWS!”
Here is some background
The Significance: Church bells are ‘the voice of the village’, ringing out to announce services and festivals; to celebrate national events and local occasions, not least at weddings and baptisms as well as to toll the loss of loved ones. Ringers’ Associations travel far and wide to experience the challenge and joy of ringing at other venues.
The History: We have 6 bells, 4 of which were cast by Abraham Rudhall and originally hung in 1705. Another was added in 1783 and the final one in 1937 when all the bells were re-hung and overhauled. Very little work has been done to them since then, but we have been advised that they should be good for another 100 years after this overhaul!
The Main Problem: The 5th bell has become cracked, probably due to the cast in crown staple still being retained in the bell which is the main reason why bells crack in their crowns. The staple, being made of wrought iron, expands through rusting and puts large pressures on the crown of the bell. The bells cannot be rung until this bell is repaired and other maintenance has been carried out. So that future generations can enjoy our bells, we need to repair them!
The Repairs: The 5th bell has to be removed from the tower and taken for re-welding and other bells will have to be removed to facilitate this. Therefore, we have been advised to have the crown staples removed from the other bells at the same time (to avoid future cracking problems) and the running gear overhauled. The Diocese has approved this proposal and has granted the PCC permission to proceed with the repairs.
The Cost: £18,941 (plus VAT which can be reclaimed)
Less than a year ago we started an appeal and seeking grants. The “Excellent News” cited above is that we have so far received actual, or promised, grants which take our Bell Fund, with now just £6,000 to go, well into the amount we need. So we must give thanks to all those villagers and friends who have given us support and to the following grant awarders;
• The Diocesan Association of Change Ringers
• Allchurches Trust
• The Sharpe Trust
• ChurchCare together with the Pilgrim Trust.
We are now well on the way to being able to ask the work to commence in spite of our current lockdown situation. And, of course, thanks to our God who clearly wants this work to be done so that the area can once again experience the real joy of the music of the bells announcing that this church is alive and well. <span style="font-size: 1rem;">Our aim is to have the bells ringing out again by September 2021, so that we can once again experience the real joy of the music of the bells letting everyone know that our church is alive and well.</span>
All things considered, there are exciting times ahead! We have stepped out in faith and give thanks for God’s provision through all the generous giving of villagers and friends who have supported the Bell Appeal and through the generosity of the trusts.
Brenda Smith, Churchwarden, St Edward, King & Martyr, Goathurst.