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. 

Donate a Headstock
Headstock
The blue cast iron headstock supports the bell on the bearings which swing the bell.

Donate a headstock for £1,000 and we supply a brass plaque, approximately 200mm long (8 inches) which will be fixed to the headstock and inscribed with a suitable approved wording, e.g. John Smith 1932-2022.
Plaque
For more information please email bells@saintmichaelweb.org.uk

Bells Auction 24 June 2022 8pm

Viewings from 1.00pm.
Windhill Churches Centre
Windhill, Bishop’s Stortford, CM23 2ND

Auction flyer (002)

Bells removed from St Michael's

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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.
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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.
St Michaels Bishop's Stortford

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 old 4th bell that dates from 1713 is currently situated at the back of the church.

The Appeal

StMbellringers002-editedThe 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.       
 

The Proposal

We need to raise £370,000 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 ring of ten bells will be augmented to twelve. There will be six new bells, the front five bells plus the addition of a sharp second bell to give a light ring of eight.
Bells 1 and 2 from the old ring of ten - the ones we can't re-tune for St Michael's - have been sold to the Keltek Trust for re-use in other churches and the 3rd from the old ring will be tuned down a semitone so it can be repurposed as the 6th of the new ring of twelve.
The old 4th bell, which was cast in nearby Bells Hill by local bellfounder John Waylett in 1713, is too thin to be retuned and will be retained for posterity along with the old bell frame at a higher level in the tower. 
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, to be used for long periods of ringing, but not affecting ringing for services.  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 walkway with handrails will be installed on the old bell frame and act as a viewing platform.

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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 inscribed to an individual, family or organisation, 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.

Online 
Please visit our JustGiving page.
 
Text Message 
Donations via text message to be announced.
 
Cheque/Standing Order

Please make payable to “St Michaels PCC Bells Appeal” and return to the Parish Office in an envelope marked ‘Bells Appeal’.
BACS Payment

Donate via your online bank account to
St Michaels PCC Bells Appeal
20-36-98,
a/c 13838609
Reference: 

 

   

20210912 124629 (2)

 

Fascinating New Book!

New book, expertly written and published in 
September, 2021 by St. Michael's bell ringer, 
Alan Padgett.

Click here for more details. 

Contact

Appeal Co-ordinator: 
Email: bells@saintmichaelweb.org.uk
Website: https://saintmichaelweb.org.uk/Articles/542915/Church_Bells_Restoration.aspx
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
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Download the leaflet Gift Aid & Standing
Order Form
Check out the video
2022-06-11 Bells Appeal Form
 
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.