Help the Tower Band bell ringers
Some of you may already know that the wooden frame supporting the bells in St Margaret’s Church, has fallen victim to wood rot and insect infestation, to such an extent that it needs completely replacing so that the bells can ring out over the parish and be enjoyed by future generations.
The Tower Band (our dedicated group of bell ringers) are responsible for the welfare of the bells and are launching a fund-raising campaign to enable the restoration to take place.
The group has already conducted a belfry inspection by bell hanging engineers, who have reported that the frame is in danger of collapse and is moving within the church tower walls. So a replacement is needed in order that the bells do not fall silent forever.
As a consequence of the inspection, the group has obtained quotes for the work at a cost of around £89,000. They have already raised a fabulous £24,000 but, clearly, a lot more is required.
The wooden frame was originally installed in 1759 and the bells, one of which was cast in the 1335 (one of the oldest in Kent), three in the 1600s, one in 1895 and one as recently as 1953, all hang within the crumbling wooden frame, which makes them very difficult to ring.
The work will involve the removal of the bells from the frame, transporting them to the bell foundry for cleaning and new hanging apparatus to be fitted along with bearings and pulley wheels. The frame will then be removed and replaced with one made of cast iron and metal, which will enable the bells to ring without any constraints and strengthen the tower walls at the same time. The bells will then be brought back to St Margaret’s to be rehung in the new cast frame.
Once the work is completed the bells will sing out across the parish for centuries to come.
If anyone would like to contribute to the restoration fund, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how. And if you wish to join us in fund raising or to learn to ring our treasured bells, please contact the Tower Captain, Barbara Woods, at Happyb1@btinternet.com or Chairman of the Fund, Alastair Boyd, at email@example.com or call 07889 754101
A selection of photographs showing the damage and deterioration in the bell tower. Click images to enlarge
All images © Greg Allen 2023