Meeting with English Heritage

Note of a meeting held at 23 Savile Row, London W1, on Wednesday 13th September 2000

English Heritage: Richard Halsey, Graham Pledger, David Heath, Malcolm Starr

CCCBR: John Anderson, Michael Henshaw, Adrian Dempster, Chris Rogers

1. The Joint Churches Grant Scheme - Richard Halsey' reported that none of the applications submitted under Streams 1 and 4 by the 30 June deadline included work on bells. Applications under Streams 2 and 3 had a 30 September deadline and only a few had so far been received.

2. EH letter to The Ringing World - John Anderson thanked Graham Pledger for his helpful letter, which had appeared in The Ringing World of 7 July. The notes of this and future meetings would be published.

3. Heritage Strategy Review - John Anderson said that, following receipt of the consultation papers, he had invited comments through a note in The Ringing World, but had received none. He had also written to a few ringers with a serious interest in heritage matters, following which he had submitted a response to the Review Team. Richard Halsey added that work was now proceeding on the responses received.

4. National Bells Register - John Anderson said that he had nothing to add to the position as reported in March.

5. The CCC's List of Historic Bell Frames - Graham Pledger said that he understood that John Eisel was continuing his work on this.

6. The Essex bell frame survey - Graham Pledger circulated copies of the report of the survey, which had just been completed. The upgraded database would now be returned to Essex County Council. John Anderson suggested that it might be linked to the CCCBR website and that in due course it might form the subject of a joint meeting with the Council for the Care of Churches. Richard Halsey suggested that lottery funding might be sought for further such surveys through the Local Heritage initiatives scheme, which was being administered by the Countryside Commission.

7. Cases of difficulty

(a) Whitwell, Derbyshire - Adrian Dempster said that the local incumbent had now departed and no further action could be taken at present. Subject to talking to Gordon Halls, this case could now be removed from the agenda.

(b) Cranfield, Bedfordshire - Graham Pledger displayed plans of the tower and said that a problem remained over the siting of the treble. Bells 3 to 6 would hang below the old frame in an H-frame, which had already been fabricated, and the 2nd would hang above the H-frame, protruding into the centre of the old frame. The new treble had been cast and all were anxious for the work to proceed. The faculty had been granted on the condition that the old frame must be retained and that the details were agreed with EH. The Diocesan Advisory Committee were meeting the next day and could be expected to make a recommendation to the Chancellor. Regrettably EH had not received Taylors' plans for the treble bellframe.

Points made in a lengthy' discussion were that some of the timber beams beneath the old frame were loose or rotten and could be removed; the only possible position for the treble was at a level some four feet above the lower frame; however, that might present acoustic problems making the bells sound uneven both inside and outside the tower; and after so much time and expenditure it was not acceptable that the end result should be unsatisfactory. Richard Halsey asked that Graham Pledger should write urgently to the DAC setting out EH's position and offering their advice. It was likely that the final decision would he made by the Chancellor of the diocese.

(c) Stourbridge - Adrian Dempster said that he did not know the current position on the second faculty application. However, Don Ascough, the engineer employed at Stourbridge, who had expressed concerns about inserting steelwork into masonry towers, had persuaded him to attend a site visit at a bell turret in Leamington Spa which in his view proved his theory. Adrian was of the opinion that the problem there had been caused by rust. Graham Pledger added that he had asked Warwick Borough Council to remove the brickwork to expose the beam ends in order to see whether or not rust was the cause. The Borough Council had agreed to do this next year.

(d) Middleton-in-Teesdale - The frame had been repaired and the three bells rehung for swing chiming. No further action was required.

(e) Swaffham Prior - The letter from Peggy Stanier in The Ringing World of 21 July was noted. No further action was required.

8. Installation of ringers' galleries - Gordon Halls' letter in The Ringing World of 11 August was noted and reference was made to new the ringers' gallery at Cranfield, where the trap door sensibly opened towards the middle of the ringing chamber.

9. St Peter's, Barton-on-Humber - Michael Henshaw reported that the matters of concern had been amicably resolved. Procedures had been agreed for access to the bells, for regular ringing to take place and for low-level maintenance to be undertaken by the tower captain.

10. Corrosion risks arising from insertion of new steelwork into tower walls - Graham Pledger had nothing further to report. Adrian Dempster said that he was considering a scheme for reducing the number of foundation beams required for bell frames, which would reduce the need to cut pockets into tower walls.

11. Next meeting - It was agreed that the next meeting should take place on Wednesday 21 March 2001 at 5 pm.


The Ringing World, December 8, 2000, page 1207