Restored 600 year old bell at St Andrew’s Church, Alfriston

A 600 YEAR OLD church bell that has been restored is on display before being hoisted back to its original location.

The oldest of the seven bells on display was made in 1387 during the reign of King Richard II and has been in the tower of St Andrew’s Church in The Tye, Alfriston ever since.

People were able to view the seven bells inside the church before they are hoisted onto the roof on Monday.

Pauline Kennard, community manager, has been attending the church for 40 years and began the restoration plan back in 2018.

The Argus: The 600-year-old original bellThe 600 year old original bell

She said: “It’s very exciting, this bell has been here for over 600 years. They were all in need of restoration.

“All the bells haven’t been here for six months, so we’re very happy to have them back. We won’t hear them until early October because there’s quite a lot to do once they’re up in the spire.”

The bells were restored in Oxfordshire by a family business called the Whites of Appleton.

The Argus: All six bells used. The bell on the far right without a headstock is only used as a bell in the roof "service bell"All six bells used. The rightmost bell, without a headstock, is in the roof, but is only used as a “service bell”.

Pauline added: “They walked away from here in a pretty rough state with pigeon droppings. They all came back nice and shiny. They have headstocks on top that have bearings that help turn the bell when it rings.

“They have been retuned where the company shaves the metal inside each bell.”

The other five bells were made between 1587 and 1811. They were melted down and recast in 1928, but the 600-year-old is entirely original.

The Argus: Christyan James, Assistant Pastor, with Pauline Kennard, Parish AdministratorChristyan James, Assistant Pastor, with Pauline Kennard, Parish Administrator

The parish received a grant from the Sussex Churches Bell Restoration Fund. Pauline estimates the total cost of the whole project to be around £75,000.

St Andrews Church was listed on Historic England’s ‘At Risk’ register. The church tower has been renovated in recent years.

The next challenge is to repair damp walls in the church.

The Argus: Photo of St. Andrew's Church by David IliffPhotograph of St Andrew’s Church by David Iliff

Pauline added: “We could have done a bit of work to keep it running but we just figured why not do all the work.

“This first service in October will be very exciting, there will definitely be a festival service.”

Visitors are cordially invited today from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tea and coffee will be provided. People can also visit on Sunday. Restored 600 year old bell at St Andrew’s Church, Alfriston

Fry Electronics Team

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