£120,000 Bell Restoration Appeal
'Can you help?'
St. Mary the Virgin PCC has launched a 'Bell Restoration Appeal' to seek volunteers and raise funds to carry out the works described below. To succeed with grant giving bodies we need to demonstrate that we are raising a substantial portion of the money through our own enterprises within the parish. To aid us in this process the PCC have appointed a small committee of local business people, who are experienced in fund raising, and church representatives to assist in the appeal. By the end of this year (2018) we will have raised £100,000 toward the total cost of £120,000.
The bells of Denbury Church have rung out for many centuries, calling parishioners to worship, marking national occasions and personal milestones such as christenings, weddings and funerals. The Church Tower is 62 feet high and carries a peel of five bells. Two bells were cast in the reign of Charles I (1631 and 1633). The Tenor bell, on which the clock strikes the hour, was cast in the reign of George IV (1829). Then during the reign of Queen Victoria the Treble bell was cast (1846). Public subscription paid for the fifth bell cast during the reign of Edward VII (1907). It is now more than 100 years since their last full renovation and they now need a major overhaul, which will cost £120,000 and includes the introduction of a new 6th bell.
The bells are part of the rich heritage we have in our parish church, which has served the community for more than 700 years, from the current building, by providing education, shelter, religious and social care and a place in which to worship. It is important that it is looked after and handed on to future generations.
The bell frame and ringing fittings were built and installed by Aggett's of Chagford when the bells were rehung in 1906/7 to accommodate the new 'third' bell. After over 100 years the gudgeon and bearing are well worn and dirty and, all the bearings demonstrate excessive endfloat. Since 1906 the bells have been in constant service, with routine maintenance being carried out by successive tower captains and ringers. The time has now come for a major overhaul to ensure that the ring of bells remains serviceable, safe and up to date.
The Tenor, Fourth and Second Bells are 'listed' by the Church Buildings Council as being of historic interest and therefore worthy of preservation.
What work is proposed?
. Dismantle the bells and ringing fittings and remove to Nicholson's works at Bridport, Dorset
. Transport fourth, third and treble to the London bell foundry
. Carry out works to reduce the chances that bells could crack
. Have new tenor and second bells cast
. Provide an additional 6th bell
. Tune treble, third and two new bells to the fourth bell
. Deal with accumulated wear and tear and ensure the bells are safe to ring
. Produce new ringing fittings including 6th place
. Re-hang bells
. Carry out related building works
Who will do it?
The main contractor will be the specialists, Nicholson Engineering Ltd.
When will it be done?
First we have to raise all the money! A Fund Raising Team has been established with both PCC and local resident representation. So far, from all sources, we have raised £100,000. We now need to make that final push to raise the outstanding £20,000. We hope to be able to start work during 2019.
If you can help or or would like to know more about our appeal please contact:
Steve Bassett by phone on 01803 812537 or Mike Bray 01803 812941