Below is an update with regards to projects/work that has been completed or is ongoing as at July 2018:

Charing Ropes guides have been fitted to the intermediate floor to hopefully stop the problem of ropes landing on the floor.
Chilham Further discussions re obtaining the secondhand bell.
Faculty now in place and work to be arranged.
The old tenor was taken out on May 1st, transported to Matthew Higby’s works on the 2nd, where the headstock was fitted to the replacement bell which was returned for fitting on Thursday 3rd.
Faversham Further site visits have taken place.
Major developments here in that the major benefactor has died and while waiting for the conservation gang to arrange a site meeting which has taken a long time.
The conservation gang have ruled that the frame is suitable for re-use and there is a proposal from them to ‘restore’ using the existing fittings. I have replied to the DAC and the architect concerned that I consider it a waste of some £40,000 of the parish’s money to do such a
job which will have little effect on the ‘go’ of the bells. I would also recommend that no grant is given.
Kilndown Inspection and maintenance. The bells are not rung regularly. Some good news is that the vertical ladder access to the ringing chamber may be replaced with stairs. The bells were installed in 1958 and hang in a 2 tier frame with 2 and 4 above. The 4th is also drawn across the clock room which probably makes it the worst bell in the tower. There is also
quite a bit of tower movement which probably does not improve the ‘go’ of all.
Lydd 4th clapper re-fitted.
Milton Regis These bells will probably be coming out at the end of September and
be rehung by Whites in time for Christmas.
Mobile Ring All in the hands of Catherine L. I feel I should step down from this project as Catherine and I have completely different ideas on the way forward. I was planning on having a basic structure, once the go ahead was given at the 2017 AGM, by June 2017. We seem to have gone back to a position we were at around 2015. Given the time things have
taken, we have lost possible help with construction and materials and an engineer I exchanged notes with has since died! There will need to be more funds injected as the costs were based on the donated materials. Storage for the trailer and bells has been found.
Monkton 2 bells offered to complete the 6. Grant awarded. Ongoing.
No dates have been set but work is proceeding on the bells at the foundry. There has been something of a problem with the DAC on this one such that they have apologised for the delay.
Otham Work to rehang the 3 original bells ongoing / complete.
The 4th bell was found to be cracked in the crown and is to be welded.  Work complete.
Rochester Cathedral There is a proposal to augment the bells to 12 and provide an additional bell to form a light 8.
Shepherdswell Inspection of single bell re clapper problem.
Swalecliffe Single bell removed. (DAC)
Tunstall Inspection and maintenance.
Wormshill Rope boss fitted to tenor. General maintenance and 2 ropes spliced.

I attended the CBC national bell advisers’ conference in Loughborough and some matters discussed were:

  • The ‘church pot of money’ from HLF will cease to exist with all grant applications being made to the general fund.
  • It is being proposed that bell advisers only do one, max two terms of office but it was suggested that at the speed the CBC / Archbishop’s Council works, it will be around 2033 before this takes place.
  • Graham Pledger, ex English Heritage, now CBC bells, wants a complete survey/record of ALL bells and frames and DAC bell advisers have been asked to do this in their respective Diocese. I am not sure what’s to be achieved here as George Dawson has done a very comprehensive list of bells and I can only think Graham wants details of all these wonderful old frames he thinks so much of.
  • We had now been sitting in church pews for most of the proceedings, on a hot day, and then to finish the afternoon, a presentation from a highly qualified engineer on tower movement, who stated that he was not going to use maths but then went onto writing some various formulae on the flip pad. I will just summarise that he proved that hanging a ring of bells lower in the tower does not mean it will move less!

Brian G. Butcher
Bell Restoration Officer and Diocesan Bells Adviser

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