Village's bells will ring out again
THE bells of a village church are to ring out tomorrow for the first time in 40 years following completion of a restoration projectThe dangerous condition of the timber bell cage in the church tower at Gislingham, near Eye, meant that the bells have been silent since 1966.
By David Green
THE bells of a village church are to ring out tomorrow for the first time in 40 years following completion of a restoration project
The dangerous condition of the timber bell cage in the church tower at Gislingham, near Eye, meant that the bells have been silent since 1966. Full circle ringing had been banned since 1948.
Now the bell cage has been repaired and the bells are due to ring out once more - at a service on Christmas Eve.
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Peter Lucas, project secretary, said the bells had fallen silent as a result of poor roof maintenance over a period of centuries, rainwater being allowed to leak on to bell cage timbers and cause them to rot.
“The frame was too weak to support full-circle ringing and this ceased in 1948. The bells were then only chime-rung until 1966 when the cage was declared unsafe and beyond repair.
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“In January 2005 we launched an appeal to raise £91,000 to fully restore the bells, install a new bell frame and to augment the ring to eight by purchasing two new bells.
“After many fund raising events, a great number of generous personal donations and several grants including a grant of £44,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund we achieved our target in April 2006,” he said.
The two additional bells have been cast at the Whitechapel Foundry in London.
The installation of the bells has now been completed and they will ring out for the first time at the 3pm service on Christmas Eve and the 9am service on Christmas Day.
Mr Lucas said: “It really is a very exciting time. The bells are reputed to be amongst the finest in Suffolk. It will be fantastic to hear them ring our again after so many years and demonstrate that our church is very much alive”