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Bells in the Forest

by Gerry Lynch last modified 26 Sep, 2017 04:50 PM

Wiltshire church celebrates rehanging of restored and repaired bells

The Bishop of Ramsbury has led a special service for the re-dedication of the bells at a Wiltshire Church in a special location.

St Katharine’s Church in the Savernake Forest. Bishop Edward led a packed church in worship and thanksgiving to celebrate the rehanging of the bells, which were repaired and restored with generous donations from local residents, businesses, and the Pewsey Area Board.

The bells were retuned by Whites of Appleton at their works in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

“We removed the bells using block and tackle and took them to our works for retuning”, said Brian White, owner of the longest trading bellhanging company in the UK.

“We tuned them to a 100th of a semitone, which is very accurate. We installed new wheels, pulleys, stays and sliders before rehanging them in the existing frame. We also used pulleys to move a couple of ropes away from the walls of the bell tower to make ringing easier. “

During the service the new bells were rung by local ringers, led by tower Captain, Diana Mortlock.

“Whites did a great job of restoring the bells”, she said, “You’d never recognise the bell tower compared to what it looked like a few months ago.”

Often described as a ‘hidden treasure’, the parish of St Katharine’s comprises various farms, small hamlets and isolated houses on the fringe of the forest. The Victorian building was built according to the principles of the Oxford Movement and despite its remote location suffered bomb damage at the very end of the Second World War due to an accidental explosion at a nearby munitions dump.

Next to the church is a thriving parish primary school which welcomes pupils from a much wider area.

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