Central Council of Church Bell Ringers
Meeting with English Heritage

Notes of a meeting held at 1, Waterhouse Square, London, EC1 on Monday, 3rd March 2008

English Heritage - Diana Evans.

CCCBR - Derek Sibson, Tony Smith, Ian Oram.


Diana Evans was the new Head of Places of Worship Policy. She was a member of the Council for the Care of Churches and had been Secretary of the Peterborough Diocesan Advisory Committee.

Derek Sibson briefly explained the structure of CCCBR and that he would be standing down as President in May, to be succeeded by Tony Smith.

2. Matters Arising from previous meeting notes:

(a) Surveys of existing bellframes: a need for a specification for bellframe recording had been identified in 2006. This was to be draw up by EH but it appeared to have run aground, despite Graham Pledger's efforts to pursue responses to consultation.

It was agreed that a copy should be sent to the Inspectors and Architects. Once an acceptable draft had been obtained consultation would take place with CCCBR and the CCC, possibly through the Bells Advisors Forum on June 5th.

(b) "Inspired!": EH was to implement two aspects of the Inspired! agenda:

(i) the placement of support officers, partially funded by EH but employed by partner Places of Worship groups in consultation with EH Regions;

(ii) maintenance, partly through the Faith in Maintenance scheme in partnership with the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings and partly through gutter clearance schemes such as those already piloted in London and St Edmundsbury & Ipswich. A new scheme was being launched in Gloucester and a feasibility study for a further project was currently being explored in East Midlands Region.

The original proposal to re-write all Grade I list descriptions would not be pursued, partly because of resources and partly because the Heritage Protection Review would introduce new ways of describing all Heritage Assets, including places of worship.

The proposal to provide a new stream of small grants would not be possible due to financial limitations.

(c) Building-in steel beam-ends: there did not appear to be major objections, in principle, to building in steel foundation beams in a dense Ordinary Portland Cement mix but EH would not issue general advice because hydraulic lime mixes might be suitable in some situations. In any case EH does not specify any works and the responsibility for this is left with the bellhanger, church architect or professional employed by the congregation undertaking works to bells/bellframes. Each case must be assessed on its merits.

(d) "Perspectives": the conference in Worcester on 15th September last year was a great success with a good mix of advisors, architects, EH, CCC and other representation. An edition of The Ringing World had included all the proceedings, although the EH presentation had not been included. CCCBR asked if this could be published in a future issue of The Ringing World.

3. EH reorganisation

It was noted that this would have no major impact on works to bells since communication should always be directly with the EH region, not Graham Pledger personally.

4. Heritage White Paper and Ecclesiastical Exemption

The Bill was to be published in "the Spring". It was unlikely to have a major impact on works to bells/bellframes.

CCCBR noted that the White Paper description of St Mary Taunton did not even mention bells. It was agreed that CCCBR would look at the new Bill when published and offer any comments accordingly.

5. Cases of difficulty:

Great Malvern: a fully costed report which compared the cost of repair with the cost of a new frame was sent to the Registrar in October 2007 by the West Midlands Region but there had been no response to date. The case was now awaiting the Chancellor's determination.

6. Other business:

(a) Technical matters: as neither Graham Pledger nor Chris Povey was able to be present these were to be dealt with initially in correspondence.

(b) Ringing Roadshow: Derek Sibson to arrange for details to be sent to EH to consider if it wished to take a stand.

(c) Forthcoming retirement: as this would be the last meeting that Derek Sibson would be attending as CC President, he thanked EH for the hospitality extended over the past 6 years.

7. Next meeting

It was agreed to meet at Waterhouse Square on 13th October 2008 at 2pm.

The Ringing World, May 2, 2008, page 490