The wooden frame supporting the bells in St Margaret’s Church has fallen victim to wood rot and insect infestation. It needs to be replaced so that the bells can ring out over the parish and be enjoyed by future generations.
Our dedicated group of bell ringers are responsible for the welfare of the bells and are launching a fund-raising campaign to enable the restoration to take place.
The group has already conducted a belfry inspection by bell hanging engineers, who have reported that the frame is in danger of collapse and is moving within the church tower walls. A replacement is needed in order that the bells do not fall silent forever.
As a consequence of the inspection, the group has obtained quotes and the work is likely to cost around £100,000.00.
The wooden frame was originally installed in 1759 and the bells, one of which was cast in 1335 (one of the oldest in Kent), three in the 1600s, one in 1895 and one as recently as 1953, all hang within the crumbling wooden frame, which makes them very difficult to ring.
The work will involve removing the bells from the frame, transporting them to the bell foundry for cleaning and new hanging apparatus to be fitted, along with bearings and pulley wheels. The frame will then be removed and replaced with one made of cast iron and metal, which will enable the bells to ring without any constraints and strengthen the tower walls at the same time. The bells will then be brought back to St Margaret’s to be rehung in the new cast iron frame.
Once the work is completed, the bells will be back to their former glory, ensuring the unique sound of the Bethersden bells will be enjoyed for many centuries to come.