The bells are coming down

by Michael Ford last modified 03 Sep, 2019 03:22 PM

After just under a year of grant applications, fundraising events and talks, parishioners at St Mary’s Church Lytchett Matravers near Poole have raised just over £30,000 to begin the process of preparing their six bells for restoration.

The bells are coming down

The Clapper Team - Gordon, Alec, Phil, John, Paul (top)

Back in August, Tower Captain Debbie Phipps, who removed the first stay thanked all those who had contributed to raising the money:

"Our church and ringing band have had the support of our Vicar and PCC, congregation, St Mary’s ringing band, the East Dorset Branch of bellringers, the Salisbury Guild of ringers and visitors to our events to reach this point in such a short time."

But the fundraising continues and among the events planned over the next couple of months are a talk on Bellringers from Dorset and Wiltshire who died in The Great War, a Clapper Chaos Handbell Concert, an Illustrated Talk about Medieval St Mary’s Church, and a Bell Restoration mini-exhibition.

The bells are coming down- Tower Captain Debbie Phipps
Tower Captain Debbie Phipps

The ring of bells, which was last refurbished and rededicated in 1931 contains a third medieval bell, cast by the Salisbury foundry in about AD 1400. The fifth and tenor bells were cast in 1616 and 1684.

Andrew Mills from John Taylor & Co of Loughborough led some volunteers in dismantling the bells and fittings and taking them to the foundry for a full restoration.

"Organised by our Steeple Keeper, Gordon Paterson, we had a great ‘Clapper Team’ who removed all the stays, sliders, clappers and wheels," Debbie said.

The tenor bell, the last to be removed, caused a few problems and was so big it had to be lifted over all the steps and wheeled out through the front porch of the church.

More pictures of the removal can be found on the St Mary's Facebook page.

Details of the fundraising events can be found in our Whats On section.

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