New church bells will keep tradition alive as bell-ringing group hopes to inspire new generation
PUBLISHED: 13:00 18 November 2017
Two new bells will be cast for a North Somerset church, where its dedicated team of ringers is hoping to keep the campanology tradition going.
The group at St Andrew’s Church, in Backwell, wants the building to continue being seen as a centre of excellence for bell-ringing in North Somerset.
Part of this strategy involves casting new bells, repairing a tower wall and proactively recruiting new members.
The two new bells will be cast on November 30, fittingly also St Andrew’s Day, and will be created in the traditional way from a copper and tin alloy.
Tower captain Tony Cox said: “The present bell frame was installed in 1901 with six bells, then two more were added in 1938 to give St Andrew’s the fine ring of eight bells it has at present.
“However, no major work had been done since, and, with the fittings wearing out, the bells were becoming increasingly difficult to ring.
“With the support of the church council we developed a strategy which would not only sort out the problems but would also make it easier to teach new ringers and provide a focus for ringing in the area.”
The rusting bell frame has led to cracks forming in the tower, but they are going to be repaired.
A new sound management system, which will reduce the sound coming from the tower during practice sessions, will also be installed.
The new bells will weigh around 200kg, meaning they will be manageable for children aged 12 and above.
Mr Cox said: “Our new young bell ringers are making excellent progress in what can be a challenging and rewarding hobby as well as providing a service to the church.
“Ringing is an excellent physical activity but also requires concentration and mental dexterity.
“We feel it is very important for the experienced ringers to pass on their skills and knowledge to new generations of ringers.”
One of the bells has been dedicated to John Brain, who was a member of the church choir and a skilled bell-ringer. He died in 2010, aged 82, and left a generous legacy to go towards the church’s upkeep.
Some of the money for the project has been raised by bell-ringers in memory of Mr Brain, and grants from bell-ringing societies.