BELL RESTORATION WORK

As anticipated last year, at St Mary, Froyle, the six bells were rehung in the existing frame with completely new fixtures and fittings. During the work evidence of the activities of Death Watch Beetle were discovered, necessitating the installation of supporting RSJs, but apart from this the work was completed as planned, with much local help. Details have been published in the Ringing World in April 1995.

At St Peter Port, Guernsey, the completely new ring of 8 has been installed at the "Town Church", and will be dedicated in May 1995, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Liberation. The new ring has a tenor of approximately 20 cwt, and are hung in a new Iroko frame, lower in the tower than the original French bells.

At All Saints, Catherington, remedial work to the tower stonework has begun. This has involved repairs to the exterior of the tower, particularly the top brick portion, to minimise further water penetration. Inside, much of the surface rendering has been removed, in order to allow the existing dampness in the walls to dry out. Fortunately ringing has not been seriously affected by the work so far.

St Mary, King's Worthy had their existing ring of 4 rehung in the same frame (already a five bell frame) which was strengthened with tie-bolts. At the same time they were augmented to 5 by the addition of a new treble, and new headstocks and other fittings were installed.

Breamore, St Mary, in the New Forest, has a ring of 4 bells in a wooden tower, which was in need of extensive repairs. This has been undertaken by a firm of specialists in the repair and conservation of such buildings, but appears not to have been completed by the end of 1994.

At All Saints, Ryde the clappers have been overhauled, including a new tenor clapper, and new gudgeons fitted to the 7th and tenor. All the bearings have been overhauled or replaced as necessary.

Water penetration has also been a problem at St Mary, Upton Grey, where timbers supporting the bellframe and ringing room floor were found to be deteriorating. Remedial work is being undertaken, but the full extent of the work may not prove to be as extensive as was first thought.

Future Work

Looking forward to 1995, Bishopstoke bells should be rung for the last time in January and the new 10 hung, mainly in the existing frame, perhaps by Easter. The ringers at Lyndhurst have had to stop ringing the 5th and 6th bells because of problems with the gudgeons; work is proposed to repair this, together with overhauling the clappers and other fittings. At the same time rope guides are to be installed. Sparsholt bells are due to be rung for the last time on VE day before they are removed, retuned, augmented to 6 and rehung in a new frame. Preliminary investigations are underway at Kingsclere to assess the possibility of repairs/restoration work, perhaps to include quarter-turning and retuning the bells, which would be rehung with new fixtures and fittings.

That concludes this round-up of the work I have heard of: other work may have been carried out, especially smaller "DIY" work - I apologise if I have left anyone out! Once again all the above completed works have been supported by grants from the BRF - let's try and keep the Fund healthy so that the level of restoration and repair work can continue. Don't forget that the new Belfry Stewardship Committee are available for advice (and possibly help) if you are in doubt as to what needs to be done in your tower - or how to find out.

Mark Esbester