Bells have rung in Hatherleigh for hundreds of years. They ring for Sunday services, weddings, national celebrations and commemorations, for solemn occasions such as Remembrance Sunday and occasionally for funerals. They rang to celebrate the peace in 1918, sounded the curfew each night during World War II and have tolled to mark the deaths of monarchs and royalty.
Problems in the Tower
For well over 100 years the oak bell frame in Hatherleigh Church tower, installed in 1883, has supported our eight beautifully-tuned bells. Now the bell frame has aged badly and strengthening it is not a long-term solution
Our bells were last re-hung in 1929. Without renovation we’ve been advised the bells will have to fall silent within the next 5 years and can no longer ring in Hatherleigh. To continue ringing, all bells must be removed from the tower and transported to Somerset for refurbishment. A new frame must be installed in the empty tower. The work will take several months and a very substantial amount of money - around £75,000 – is needed to realise the project. Only then can we ensure that bells will continue ringing for another hundred years.
With the blessings and full co-operation of our vicar Leigh Winsbury and the Parochial Church Council, Hatherleigh Bellringers have launched a fundraising campaign to save our bells. This campaign is independent of the church’s fundraising for repairs and modernisation but some proposed works overlap, such as raising the ringing floor up a level to accommodate a kitchen and toilet on the tower’s ground floor (where ringing currently takes place). Work on the tower and bells must be completed first.
Hatherleigh Bellringers have made a starter contribution of around £1,000. The team will be approaching several funding bodies for grants, and are planning local events to involve the church, community and ringers from other towers.
Service to Church and Community
Please consider contributing to the Bellringers’ restoration fund so that our ancient ringing tradition can continue to serve Church and community.
The costs involved
Donations of any amount, however small, are welcome. But we are offering sponsorship of several items as shown below. Donations over £1000 will be commemorated on a plaque to be placed in the church tower and all those who wish will have their name included in a book of thanks.
Frame sides £5,000
Supporting RSJs £5,000
Rope mats £100
Rope shutes £500
Rope guides £2,500
Full set of muffles £1,000