Michaelchurch Escley Church Bells Project

Where we have come from, where we are now, where we hope to get to

 

The Past
1583
Two bells, costing £10, ordered by James Aparry and William Poole (churchwardens?) from John Baker, of Hereford, bell founder .
1702
Mr James left £20 in his will for a treble bell.
1732
The five current bells were cast by Rudhall of Gloucester after probably melting down the three original bells hung in the wooden belfry.
1897
Wooden belfry taken down - presumably being in poor condition - and replaced by the present tower at a cost of £559 9s 6d. The bells were rehung in the current oak frame and a smaller sanctus bell was added.

The Present
After probably little or no maintenance since being re-hung in 1897 the bells are now difficult and in some cases dangerous to ring. The tenor bell is badly cracked and the others are worn and need turning. Whilst the bells have been rung in recent years by visiting ringers, there hasn’t been a Michaelchurch team for about 30 years.
With no-one to ring them and the bells in no state to be rung, they will remain silent and the bell ringing tradition of over 400 years at St Michael’s is at an end…. unless we take action!


The Future
This restoration project is timed to coincide with the centenary of the Great War. The aim is to repair the bells, raise and train our own team of ringers and take part in the national bell ringing event which is planned to commemorate the armistice at 11am on 11th Nov 2018.
The bells will be taken down and restored by Matthew Higby in Somerset and the cracked tenor bell will be welded in Cambridge. We hope to add a 6th bell in memory of all those who were killed or wounded in that war.


Costs involved
The cost of the restoration will be about £21,000 to be raised from grants and church funds (£8000 raised so far).
The new bell will cost about £7,500 which we hope to be able to raise mainly from individual donations within the parish. (£1250 raised so far). The project will start once we have raised the money - hopefully towards the end of 2015.


Michaelchurch Escley Church Bells Project
Webpage icon The bells are nearly ready
Webpage icon The bells have gone!
Webpage icon Great War Memorial Bell
Webpage icon WWi Commemoration: history project