Monday, 13 March 2017

Final peals of St Mary's bells before replacement

The bells of St Mary’s church in Richmond rang out together last night for the last time, before work is started this week to replace a number of the bells and upgrade the infrastructure in the tower.

Tower Captain Susan Welch, who has been bell ringing since 1984, led the group in a session lasting about half an hour, with a special service below being led by Bishop James Bell (appropriately), who along with Mark Zetland is one of the patrons of the replacement project. A number of fundraising efforts raised the required amount for the replacements to be cast and installed.

Some of the bells are 500 years old, though interestingly, the oldest of the bells will not be replaced and will continue to be used. Some bells will be removed from use but placed in a new viewing platform above the other bells, and some bells will be removed from the tower. An entirely new steel set of girders will replace the ancient timbers. The work is set to take several weeks, with St Mary’s falling silent during the works.

Taking part in the evening’s bell ringing were: Karin Hildred, Keith Hildred, Sue Fielder, Cathy Trewby, Glenys Rogers, Susan Welch, Graham Rogers, Glenys Jones, John Welch, Andrew Slade, Liz Foster, Peter Trewby, Vicky Milne, Jess Milne, and Jennifer Patrick.

Peter Trewby, who spearheaded the replacement project, in the bell tower. 

The bells started the evening’s ringing in the “up” position. 

A book of bell ringing notation. 

Jess Milne, 10, the youngest of the bell ringers. She has been ringing for 6 months. 

The whole group after concluding the final ringing of the evening – the last time this set of bells will be rung together. 

Tower Captain, Susan Welch, in the tower with the bells.