Historic Meldreth church bells set for restoration thanks to fundraising campaign

PUBLISHED: 09:01 03 April 2015

Tower Captain, John Gipson, has rung 1669 peals on the bells, in a peal-ringing career lasting from 1939 until 2012. This picture shows him with the new bells in 1968.

Tower Captain, John Gipson, has rung 1669 peals on the bells, in a peal-ringing career lasting from 1939 until 2012. This picture shows him with the new bells in 1968.

Archant

Historic Meldreth church bells – believed to be the most rung in the world – are set to be restored after a successful village effort to raise £83,000.

Holy Trinity’s church bells – the oldest of which was cast by Tobias Norris in 1617 – will ring for the morning service on Easter Sunday, before a final peal the following day.

The Whitechapel Bell Foundry will then take the bells to its London workshops to be cleaned, tuned and prepared for new frames and fittings, before they are returned in July.

The last major work on the bells was in 1968 when two new small bells were installed to augment the ring from six bells to the present eight.

A project was launched in September to raise the money, with the church receiving major grants and ‘extremely generous’ donations from ringers past and present.

Church steeple keeper Peter Hinton said: “We are delighted to be able to say that funding for the project is now all in place.

“Meldreth bells have had 2184 full peals rung on them, the highest total for any church.

“However, in recent years it has become more difficult to ring the bells as they have started to show their age.

“The aim is to fully renovate the bells and to rehang them in a new frame.

“The worn-out fittings will be replaced, the bells will be tuned and they will be ready to ring out over the village for generations to come.”

Meldreth county councillor Susan van de Ven said: “Success is down to the commitment of the Holy Trinity church and bell ringing communities who put together the compelling case that the project deserves.

“Not only are Holy Trinity bells renowned throughout the world but bell ringing in Meldreth is an activity that is constantly celebrated through encouraging curiosity and inviting new people to take an interest, and join in.”

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