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Latest News From The Bell Project

The bells have been to Whitechapel Bell Foundry and have been tuned. It is reported that they now sound far better than before! With that phase completed, they were transported to Dorset during the first week of February where they are now being fitted with their new headstocks and other accessories.

Despite the terrible weather suffered during February on the south coast, Nicholson Engineering have not been flooded and have continued to run smoothly. The new headstocks and wheels are now being produced and the project is still on schedule. It is planned that the bells will return to Ellesmere on 24 March and the intention remains to re-install them in time to have them ringing by Easter. In the mean time the tower has been cleaned, starting in the bell chamber and working down to the ringing chamber. Countless bags of dust, twigs, and rubbish that have been accumulating for hundreds of years have been removed. Despite clearing the dirt away we have not found any treasure hidden under the floor boards.

By the time the bells return we will have completed the cleaning, whitewashed the clock chamber walls, and repaired the floors in the bell chamber and clock chamber. The bell frame is to be checked and all the braces tightened.

Once the bells are back there will still be work to do - the ringing chamber ceiling, which was not in good condition before we started, will need some work, and the hand rail up the stairs and the shutters in the bell chamber have still to be completed. When the bells are
ringing again it is expected that large numbers of bell ringers will want to "have a go" to find out what difference all this work has made both to their sound and to the ease of ringing them. So you can expect to hear the bells frequently, making up for the recent four months of silence. Furthermore, when the tower is back in a presentable and safe state there will be another Tower open day so that you can come and see what has been done. In the meantime, Alfie Digby and some of the pupils from Lakelands School are raising funds for a trip to Morocco by organising abseiling down the tower. While the bells are away and the trap doors in the tower are accessible it is the ideal, in fact probably the only, time that they can do this. The aim will be to abseil from the ringing chamber into the church - an abseil inside the tower! They will be giving more details nearer to the time. Why not give it a go?

Peter Leigh
on behalf of the Bell Ringers