Published by Valerie Root on Tue, 28 Sep 2021 18:25

Let the Bells Ring Out!

 

You may have noticed that the Aylsham Church Bells have fallen silent in recent times.  Bell ringing was not possible during the lockdown periods over this last year but there are other reasons for the silence.

Today I want to tell you all about it and I also want to ask the people of Aylsham and beyond if they would like to help.

 

In March this year the church undertook some work on the bells to refurbish the bearings.  This entailed removing the steel headstocks, the part from which the bells hang.  As this work was carried out we discovered that seven out of our ten bells had cracks to the heads to a degree that would make them unsafe to ring.

 

And so the tower has been silent ever since.  Not only are we not able to ring the church bells on a Sunday morning and at other events such as weddings but this has also meant that the church clock has fallen silent because it cannot chime the hour without the bells.

 

As well as being much loved and valued by the people of the town of Aylsham, the bells in our church tower have a great significance with regards to our heritage.  The bells date from the early 18th century and they are both complete and original.  There are only five churches in the Diocese of Norwich with towers housing a set of 10 bells and St Michael’s is the oldest of the five.

 

For all these reasons we have decided that the bells should be renovated.  They will need to be transported to a specialist firm called Soundweld nr Newmarket to be rewelded.

 

And here’s the part where you might be able to help.  In order to carry out these works the church needs to raise funds in the region of £40,000.  We have already received some generous donations from local people to the sum of £5,500 and we will be pursuing some other funding opportunities as well but today we are launching our appeal –

 

Let the Bells Ring Out!

Donations can also be made with a cheque or online.

Online donations can be made to “Aylsham Parochial Church Council” – Sort Code 20-03-26  Acc.no. 00130362

Cheques are gratefully received, made payable to “Aylsham Parochial Church Council” please state reference "BELLS APPEAL"

Donations to the Bells Appeal can be made through Aylsham Parish Church Website using this link

Donations can also be made through JustGiving using this link

 

We are very grateful for all the support and encouragement that we are receiving with this project.

When the work is done there will be a great celebration and you will all hear the bells ringing out from far afield!!!

 A joyful note to leave you with today is words of a verse of a hymn that has been written to celebrate the nations bell towers.  The tune we sing these words to is Thornbury, well known for being the tune to the hymn “Thy hand, O God, has guided”.

The sacred bells of England

How gloriously they ring

From ancient tower and steeple,

For cottager, for king.

We love to hear their voices

While o’er the fields we roam,

How sweet to think the echo

May reach our heavenly home!

 

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