Historical bells return to Ipswich
AN Ipswich church today welcomed the return of five historical giants, said to be the oldest bells in the world.The five bells of St Lawrence Church, in Dial Lane, will be heard again in time for Christmas thanks to a �100,000 restoration project.
AN Ipswich church today welcomed the return of five historical giants, said to be the oldest bells in the world.
The five bells of St Lawrence Church, in Dial Lane, will be heard again in time for Christmas thanks to a �100,000 restoration project.
The booming bells were reputedly heard regularly by a young Thomas Wolsey but haven't sounded in two decades due to the poor condition of the tower they are housed in.
In July a new steel and cast iron frame was installed eight metres lower than the previous frame and, while restoration took place, the bells were taken to be cleaned at Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London.
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The oldest of the bells date back to 1450 and together form what experts claim is the oldest medieval full circle set of their type in the world.
The restoration was made possible with money raised from a public appeal by The Ipswich Historic Churches Trust last year.
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John Blatchly, chairman of Ipswich Historic Churches Trust, said: “It certainly is a happy day.
“We are very excited to think that these bells are coming back to be installed in a new frame.
“They were previously in part of the tower built in 1883 which was very pretty but flimsy.
“They will now be moved to a sturdier part dating back to the 15th century.
“The bells will be rung from a floor visible from the body of the church so everyone going through the doors will be able to see them through a glass screen.
“We estimate that they will be being rung as early as September 10.”
He said the Whitechapel firm was the best they could find and the oldest active firm in London.
He added: “We received enormous help from the borough and the Elizabeth Walter Trust and also the Suffolk Guild of ringers and the public of Ipswich and Suffolk.”
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