Urgent restoration work costing a total of £30,000 led to the encasing of the tower and spire in scaffolding, and a complete cessation of ringing on the six bells from October 1985 until June this year.
St Michael and All Angels, Hinton Admiral (see The Ringing World 3842)
A scheme has been initiated to augment the five Taylor bells to six. Fund raising has commenced.
Essential and immediate work was required this summer on the bell frame and the fabric of the belfry. This was accompanied by a general restoration of the bell fittings by Whitechapel, with the ringers using their summer holiday to provide a work force, reducing costs. Alas, the attempt to augment to ten was discouraged by the bell founders, due to lack of space in the bell chamber.
At the 1986 Executive Committee Meeting, the Andover District representative reported that this PCC had launched a scheme for augmentation, by Taylors, from eight to ten by the addition of two tenor bells.
The District Ringing Master, Mr J Hunt, has led a move to restore these three bells so that they can be rung regularly by a band he has trained. An estimate from Whitechapel proposes that the present treble, third and fourth be augmented by a new second, that a steel frame for six be erected one floor down and that the bells be rung from the ground floor. Recasting is not possible due to the age of the bells (1589) and the present wooden frame cannot be dismantled due to its antiquity. Does any other belfry contain a frame built in 1630? Is Portchester the oldest in the Guild?
St Peter, Goodworth Clatford (see The Ringing World 3926)
On Saturday 21st June 1986, the augmented octave was dedicated by a ringing vicar, the Rev D King, from St Michael’s, Andover in the presence of Guild officers and many past Clatford ringers, assembled by George Dowling. The augmentation scheme was first initiated in 1980 by Jack Wimlett and it has required great determination, particularly on the part of Clare Le Marie and the Knights-Whittome family, to achieve this augmentation.
St Mary, Eversley (see The Ringing World 3870 and 3886)
On Sunday 16th February the Bishop of Basingstoke conducted the dedication of the ring of six bells in the presence of Guild officers and a church packed with relations and supporters of the donors of the new bells. The new band rang their bells admirably, with visitors later sampling this delightful light six while appearing on closed-circuit TV.
The PCC have obtained two estimates for augmentation of this peal of bells from five to six. Mr G C Grant has visited the belfry and commented favourably on the plans to the DAC.
During the demolition of this building and the restoration of the chapel and tower as part of Netley Country Park, three bells, once part of the clock chime, were discovered still in place. Approaches to HCC Recreation Department in 1985 evolved interest in using these bells for an augmentation project. However, our DAC representative reports that the decision has been made to leave them hung dead in situ as Victorian memorabilia.
D C JACKSON