Church Bells Restoration Appeal
We are running an appeal to raise funds to refurbish the historic bells at St Michael's Church, Bishop's Stortford, to help safeguard a long tradition of Church bells ringing out to call worshippers to Church for future generations. Check out our fund-raising video.
Bells removed from St Michael's
The 10 bells have now been removed from the bell tower. 9 of the bells have been taken away by White's of Appleton 7 of these will be retuned and the two lightest bells, which could not be retuned, have been sold for use in another church. The 7 retuned bells together with 6 new bells will be rehung in the tower in August / September, giving us a new ring of 12 bells with an additional sharp second bell to allow the front 8 bells to be rung separately.
The 4th bell remains in St Michael's church. This ancient bell, which dates from 1713 could not be retuned, but will be retained in St Michael's tower because of its historical significance.
The Schedule of Work
We are very pleased to announce that we have now been given the go ahead to commence the work of restoring the bells. White's of Appleton, Bellhangers have been appointed to undertake the work, which will commence in May 2022.
White's of Appleton were founded in 1824 and are the oldest continuously trading Bellhanging Company in the UK. A brief history can be found on this link: History | whitesbellhangers
A summary of the planned schedule of work can be found here./Articles/632705/Schedule_of_Work.aspx
Bell Restoration Update 2 May 2022 – The Parish Office, Tower Room and Ringing Chamber have all been cleared and you’ll have probably noticed that the back of the church is now screened off, for safety. Bellhangers, Whites of Appleton, arrive this week to begin lowering the ten bells through all the floors, the first time since 1928, before restoration and refurbishment begins. The bells may be viewed in the south aisle of the church next weekend: 7th/8th May.
The red brick tower and slender steeple of St Michael's Church are a familiar sight to the people of Bishop's Stortford. There have been bells in the tower since the early 1400s, when we know there were five until a sixth was added in 1671. The present ring of ten bells was installed in 1820 in the existing 1713 wooden frame after the tower and spire were rebuilt in 1819. Since then, the only other work on the bells consisted of re-tuning in 1928. Now, nearly 200 years since the last major work, the bells are in urgent need of refurbishment and rehanging in a new frame due to cracking in the tower, which has occurred because the two largest bells are hung against the weaker west wall and swing in a north/south direction, resulting in increasing stress to the building and making the bells difficult to ring.
We need to raise £300,000 plus VAT. The three smallest bells are beyond re-tuning, so need to be replaced with three new bells. The remaining seven will be retuned then re-hung in a new cast iron frame positioned lower in the tower to improve stability and a new floor will be installed. The bells will be reoriented with the 17cwt tenor bell being moved to the centre of the frame. The old bell frame will be retained for posterity at a higher level. Acoustic Roller Shutters on the inside face of each of the four louvres will provide a measure of sound control in this town centre church, which will help with noise pollution and benefit our neighbours, but will not affect ringing for any service. In addition, the existing timber and metal access ladders that rise from the ringing chamber to the roof will be replaced with more modern and safer ship’s ladder installations to provide much easier access. A metal walkway with handrails will be installed along one side of the new bell frame which would act as a viewing platform and provide the link between the new ships’ ladders.
How to donate
To give you some idea of what your donation could buy:
Dedication to an individual, family or organisation, one of 3 new bells, each increasing in size - £10,000, £12,500 or £15,000.
Re-tuning remaining 7 bells - £5,500
Headstock - £1,000 (inscription at additional cost, subject to approval)
Wheel - £1,200
Rope - £250
New metal frame - £17,000
New bell chamber floor - £14,000
Sound control acoustic shutters - £15,000
All donations will be recorded and retained in the Church archives.
We will, of course, be pleased to accept any donation that you wish to make online, by cheque or standing order.
Please visit our JustGiving page.
Donations via text message to be announced.
Please make payable to “St Michaels PCC Bells Appeal” and return to the Parish Office in an envelope marked ‘Bells Appeal’.
Donate via your online bank account to
St Michaels PCC Bells Appeal
Fascinating New Book!
New book, expertly written and published in
September, 2021 by St. Michael's bell ringer,
St Michael's Church, Windhill, Bishop's Stortford Herts, CM23 2ND
THE PAROCHIAL CHURCH COUNCIL OF THE ECCLESIASTICAL PARISH OF BISHOP'S STORTFORD (ST. MICHAEL)
Registered Charity No. 1130646
Download the leaflet
Gift Aid & Standing
Check out the video
The ringers would like to offer their thanks to all those who are supporting the fundraising.
If you would like to know more about bellringing, click here.