Westbury-on Severn bells' renovation.

The 2011 People's Lottery Fund was awarded to the Westbury Bell Tower Appeal, to renovate and help preserve and maintain bell ringing in this unusual detached bell tower. The tower is to become available to the public and for education. To take out the bells, and fit new headstocks and bearings and all fixings. Bells will then be re-hung and test rings monitored until any resulting frame movement is within an acceptable tolerance. The traditional art of bell ringing is to be maintained in the 13th. century bell tower of the Church of St Mary, St Peter & St Paul, Westbury-on-Severn, Gloucestershire, England. This almost unique detached bell tower, dates from circa 1290. It has a 14th century 49-meter high spire made entirely from locally sourced oak, and covered with oak shingles. The tower was originally attached to the now demolished Chapel of St. Mary which, during the English Civil War, was occupied by the Parliamentarians who defeated the Royalists who were occupying the adjacent church. The tower houses the heaviest peal of bells in Gloucestershire, which were famous for ringing out their peal and quarter peals to be heard across the nearby Severn Estuary. Four of the peal of six are maiden Abraham Rudhall bells, cast at the famous Rudhall’s foundry in Gloucester in 1711. The heaviest bell of the peal being the tenor at nearly 22 cwt. The bells were rung regularly up to about ten years ago; there being one last ring in 2005 which was monitored closely, when it was found that there was some bell chamber structural movement and instability, with one bell making contact with its frame and housing. They were deemed too dangerous to ring, especially in the grade 1 listed tower.   The photographs show the bells being removed by a team of local bell ringers and operatives from the Bell Hangers: Whites of Appleton, Oxfordshire, where the bells were taken for renovation. Later to be returned to Westbury, where they're reassembled and rehung by the same team. All required tests are then carried out with checks made by the structural engineer and English Heritage. The bells, have been successfully returned to the tower. They have been rededicated by the Bishop of Tewkesbury, and having passed all tests, are now ready to take part in the National Bell Ringing Celebration to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen. This is what was hoped for when this work began and has now been achieved. Two quarter peals will take place on Sunday and Monday 3rd. and 4th. June 2012. Each session lasting around 45 minutes.

  1. 1.Detached tower at Westbury
  2. 2.Removing ropes from bell wheels
  3. 3.Dismantling bell wheels
  4. 4.Raising bell and its headstock from its housing
  5. 5.Attaching hoist chains
  6. 6.Directing bell to lowering position
  7. 7.Sending bell down on hoist
  8. 8.Largest tenor bell reaches middle landing in bell tower
  9. 9.Descent from mid-point in bell tower
  10. 10.From mid-point to ground floor
  11. 11.From bell tower door
  12. 12.Removing hoist chains from bell headstock
  13. 13.Tidying up after first day
  14. 14.Removing headstock from bell
  15. 15.Fist bell at the church gate
  16. 16.Passing Westbury-on-Severn church
  17. 17.Boards are layed for the bells to travel along
  18. 18.To the church gate
  19. 19.Bells removed from bell tower
  20. 20.Public interest
  21. 21.All 6 bells at church gate
  22. 22.Bells are loaded for transportation to Whites of Appleton
  23. 23.Peoples Lottery plaque placed on towers north wall
  24. 24.Whites of Appleton
  25. 25.Crown work being done
  26. 26.Drilling crown
  27. 27.Checking mold fixing for leakage
  28. 28.Adding resin mixture for new crown area
  29. 29.Removing mold casing for new crown
  30. 30.Moving bell with hoist
  31. 31,Brian White takes interest in all work going through his factory
  32. 32.Making new rope wheels
  33. 33.Bringing in the restored bells
  34. 34.Restored bell goes up the church path
  35. 35.Boards positioned for transporting bells to tower
  36. 36.Boards are put down to ease the manoeuvring of bells
  37. 37.Restored bell returns home
  38. 38.First bell home
  39. 39.Moving the bells out of the way
  40. 40.Preparing the hoist
  41. 41.Bell goes up on the hoist
  42. 42.Bell brought up on the hoist
  43. 43.Team hoist bell into position
  44. 44.Observing proceedings
  45. 46.Treble placed in position
  46. 47.Tea break in the church
  47. 48.Positioning bell in bell chamber
  48. 49.New rope wheels are brought up
  49. 50.Releasing hoist chains from new bell wheel
  50. 51.New rope wheels attached
  51. 52.Manufacturing 12/12/2011 on the new rope wheel
  52. 53.Fitting the new rope wheels
  53. 54.Demonst0 Griffometer with a clap
  54. 55.Griffometer used for clapper centering
  55. 56.All structures checked by Structural Engineer and English Heritage before ringing
  56. 57.The team have the first full test ring
  57. 58.First complete bell ringing
  58. 60.Local HTV West news interview Tower Captain
  59. 61.Local press photos
  60. 62.Rededication by the Bishop of Tewkwsbury
  61. 63.Rededication by the Bishop of Tewkwsbury 2
  62. 64.The Bishop with parishioners after the rededication
  63. 65.Rededication party after church service
  64. 66.The bells are available to ring!
  65. 67.The Working Team