Bell Adviser

Bell Adviser’s Report 2023

Current projects

Other projects

• Huntingdon St Mary’s - problem with one of the bearings moving on no. 3 bell will be addressed once permission to lift the bell has been granted.

• Little Stukeley - the PCC at Little Stukeley expressed a wish to see the bells ringing again so I undertook a more detailed inspection in October to assess their condition. One, and possibly two new headstocks would be needed and a thorough overhaul of all four bells and fittings before full circle ringing could recommence, but chiming is possible.

• Croxton - tie rods to be fitted to strengthen the frame

• West Wratting - less experienced ringers getting a large sideways movement of the treble sally halfway up the raise. This appears to be due to some resonance setting up a large amount of rope movement in the intermediate. A number of small improvements have been made which are satisfactory except when the ropes are very stiff.

• Wood Ditton - following setting up of a new band and resumption of ringing the parish had noise complaints from residents 1⁄2 mile away or noise and its effect on wildlife! Noise measurements take and showed bells were comfortably below urban background noise levels and equivalent to other rural background sounds (distant tractors etc). The parish is attempting to set up a meeting with the complainant.

• Sutton in the Isle - quotations and Diocesan approval are being sought to strengthen the frame and fit self-aligning bearings on all six bells

Geoff Burn

Bell Adviser’s Report 2022

After two years when bell work activity was reduced due to Covid pandemic restrictions, 2022 saw a return to normality. 

Major projects

Other projects - New pulleys have been fitted at Longstanton and Leighton Bromswold. Wheel rimming has been reattached at both Whittlesey churches. The metal frame at Harston has been treated for rust and repainted.  A headstock and three wheel halves have been removed from Keyston for refurbishment. Many inspections and minor repairs have been carried out as requested.

The bells at Tydd St Giles and Newton in the Isle are now unringable.

Volunteers - Finally, many thanks to all volunteers who have given their time freely to carry out the above work.

Geoff Burn

Bell Adviser’s Report 2021

The Covid pandemic restrictions resulted in a patchy year of activity with very little being done in the first three months; although the opportunity was taken to give Haslingfield a mid-life refit. This was followed by an inspection campaign to support Return to Ringing where the team visited 21 towers and carried out minor maintenance in at least eight.

Major projects – After a long period of negotiation with the Churches Conservation Trust, Swaffham Prior now has an excellent ‘going’ tenor thanks to Matthew Higby and the co-ordination efforts of Gareth Davies.  Bury has two bells rehung with new headstocks and the tenor has been quarter turned, together with the secondary and tertiary foundation beams being clamped together. The St Clement’s training centre has had the two original bells relocated, the bases of the spire beams removed and a new steel ringbeam installed. It is planned to install the frame and bells before Easter. Two new projects are under development: at Alconbury it is proposed to rehang the bells lower in the tower and an augmentation to 6 bells at Landbeach.

For the future, the Return to Ringing inspections highlighted the need for regular inspections especially in those towers without an active band or steeple keeper. This will require widening the pool of competent steeple keepers and maybe linking towers together in more formal local support groups. This will then need to be supported by more training and production of training material. assistance.

Tom Ridgman

Bell Adviser’s Report 2020

There has been a very limited amount of work carried out due to the Covid pandemic. Prior to the first shut down there was work being carried out in four towers and a number of inspections carried out.  It has been hard to interpret what is permitted under the various public health restrictions but where possible various visits have been made and at my home tower, Haslingfield, we have used the opportunity to have a mid-life refit of cleaning up and doing all the little improvement jobs in the tower and ringing room.

Dove’s guide used the lockdown to carry out an updating and enhancement exercise of their records and I am grateful to a number of people who assisted with that, although it has left a list of seven towers that still need to be visited.

I gave a talk on care of bells, belfries and ringing rooms that is now available on the Cambridge District You-Tube channel and have been asked to produce an edited version for the CCCBR Technical Committee. I have also produced a paper for that committee on how a training and accreditation system for volunteers maintaining and working on bells could be set up following the format of the ART system.

Finally, a reminder that before ringing recommences its essential to check that the bells have not deteriorated. A quick visual check is all that’s required that nothing is obstructing the bells from swinging, the ropes are in good condition and the stays, sliders, wheels, pulleys and clappers are serviceable. If anyone is looking for help the District Bell Advisers will be happy to arrange some assistance.

Tom Ridgman

Bell Adviser’s Report 2019

This has been the first year with formal District Bell Advisers and as a result it has been possible to provide advice and support to a much wider range of towers. The list of towers contacted for a variety of reasons last year reached 32.

Following changes to the BRF Constitution and the Bell Repair Sub-Committee Terms of Reference we are now planning to go beyond just offering advice to more practical help:

This will require a larger team than just the bell advisers and we will be signing people up to a competency matrix (rather like the ART scheme) and giving them training to ensure everything is done safely.

Tom Ridgman