St Winnow Parish Church Bells and Tower Appeal

by in Lostwithiel, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 6th March 2018 we successfully raised £860 with 22 supporters in 42 days

St Winnow Parish Church is in the final stages of the works to the tower, and we are £27000 short of our £180,000 target.

by in Lostwithiel, England, United Kingdom


Our architect, and contractor Ships Carpentry, started in May 2016 by preparing the tower by removing unsafe structures, cleaning back hundreds of years of accumulated debris and then working to make our tower good again. Please see the links below to some photos which have followed our contractor’s progress: Phase 1 photos; Phase 2 beam and pocket photos; Phase 2 render, step, trench and gulley photos; Phase 2 final stages photos; Phase 3 photos.  Of the three phases of planned works, the pre-phase and phase one completed in 2016, with phase two completed in March 2017.  Phase three commenced in May 2017. 


Our Parochial Church Council (PCC) are very grateful to the support of The Friends of St Winnow Parish Church, our ringers, Truro Diocese and all the donors and sponsors who have contributed to date. We would like to acknowledge thanks to the charitable trusts and external grant funding sources who are championing our cause, including SITA Cornwall Trust Limited, Cornwall Historic Churches Trust, Truro Diocesan Guild of Ringers, The Viscountess Boyd Charitable Trust, the Rural Churches Repair Fund and Sherrard Trust, theCentral Council Bell Restoration Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation and The Marris Charitable Trust.

In 1714, the parishioners of St Winnow had a vision of installing five bells at a time when most churches had two or three bells. Some three hundred years on, we had hoped to install six new bells as part of this appeal (given we have six existing bells). We dared to believe in funding for eight. However, our mission and vision of involving and growing our church in our community led to a further two bell sponsors coming forward, who were also pastorally sensitive to the appeal, and the PCC subsequently resolved to accept a final peal of ten bells to be installed (which are conformable with the strength of the tower and which the new frame also allowed for).

All ten bells have been sponsored. Ten bells are the most musical combination for any peal of church bells and place St Winnow Parish Church in a unique position. They are the only ring of ten concurrently cast bells in Cornwall and the only ring of ten in South East Cornwall.  

Casting of our bells
took place in February 2017 by Royal Eijsbouts Bell Foundry in Holland, following which they were then transported to Nicholson Engineering Ltd, Bridport, who originally designed them and subsequently made their component parts (frame, headstocks, wheels, etc.).  Our bells were delivered to St Winnow Parish Church on Friday, 4th August 2017.  On 6th August 2017, at our Parish Eucharist service, The Bishop of St Germans, The Rt Revd. Chris Goldsmith consecrated our ten new bells and rededicated our re-furbished tower and our conserved old bells, providing a unique opportunity for visitors to view our ten new bells, which were on display in the Lady Chapel of our church for the afternoon.  Our Project Architect also put together and gave a presentation on the works that have taken place.  Installation of our new bell frame and the bells themselves took place in the week beginning 7th August 2017.

On Bank Holiday Monday, 28th August 2017, we held our annual 'St Winnow Way' walk - a pilgrimage between four churches within our Benefice - commencing at Bradoc with a picnic and ringing, onto Boconnoc, to St Nectan's where the mini ring had been set up, finishing at St Winnow where the first public ringing of our lovely ten new bells took place.  We could not have wished for better weather or for greater support and for all of our visitors.  So many thanks go to so many people and groups who helped bring the day into fruition.  We even featured on BBC Spotlight!  Every contribution in donation or deed to date has been so valued and appreciated.  The seed of a remarakable and creative vision turning into an audible and visible reality is a marvellous thing to witness and we are so proud of our journey and community spirit, far and wide.  Proud to have been a part of it.  However, whilst our appeal for our funding gap goes on, this is not the end of our project.  But, perhaps more excitingly, the beginnings of something much further extending.  At St Winnow we talk about the stones of our building and the people being the living stones.  The buildings of our Benefice simply came alive at Bank Holiday, packed to the rafters,  People of all ages, backgrounds, beliefs; no boundaries.  Simply a sense of togetherness, achievement, community bonding, fellowship, comradeship, reuniting; the hope and inspiration for this to continue.  To keep our heritage alive.  Surely the greatest achievement and gift.  Priceless.  Thank you all!    

At our Dedication and Homecoming Service on Sunday, 19th November 2017, we welcomed back old friends to whom St Winnow holds a special place in their hearts and dedicated the chimes of the old historic bells.  You can read the sermon from this service here.  
Our New Bells           Diameter            Weight               Note
        Tenor                       28”                  3-3-5                   D
        Ninth                    25 3/8”               3-0-1                    E
       Eighth                      23”                  2-1-14                   F#
      Seventh                    22”                   2-1-1                   G
        Sixth                     20 ½”                2-0-3                    A
        Fifth                      19 ½”               1-3-15                  B
      Fourth                   18 5/8 ”             1-2-23                  C#
       Third                     18 1/8”              1-2-19                  D
     Second                     17 ½”               1-2-27                  E
      Treble                       17”                 1-2-15                  F#


Our goal is now to complete the funding gap to our tower repairs and new bells installation.

External grant funding sources will usually match fund up to certain amounts, but will expect that a significant proportion of the costs are met elsewhere, thus the need for our appeal.

We are asking for your help and prayer in contributing to the remaining costs of the work. Our project incorporates both tower and bells works and of the overall total costs of now some £180,000 (with additional repairs having arisen as we peeled back the centuries in the tower), we have only £27,000 left to fund (some £150,000 raised since May 2016, which is marvellous testimony to the community support received).

Please see our appeal leaflet, produced earlier in the year, by following the link below which details how you can help and sponsorship opportunities. Donations of all sizes are welcome.

Downloadable appeal leaflet and donation form.

Downloadable appeal poster.

There are also many other ways to help. Spread the word to friends and family, employers and organisations with which you are involved. They may be able to help with donations and fundraising. You may also be able to help by organising a fundraising event.

For further information, please contact:
Appeal Organiser Elizabeth 01208 873223 [email protected] 


For centuries, the peal of St Winnow bells has been a part of our Cornish heritage, uniting our local Parishes in faith, solidarity and hope.

Sounding joyfully across the nearby River Fowey for worship, celebration and remembrance, the bells commemorate for many people at important milestones in their lives. A deep-rooted community focal point, our bells provide an opportunity for inclusive fellowship and learning ancient skills. Bell ringers of all ages come to St Winnow, having fun and making music in our rural surroundings.

Sadly, essential repair works to the bells and tower silenced their music.


Works have been planned in three stages - covering the tower conservation; preparation of a new ringing floor and bell frame; and commissioning, installation and hanging of new bells.

After lengthy consultation and deliberation, the Parochial Church Council agreed to hang a brand-new set of bells, lower down in the tower chamber whilst other remedial tower works are in progress.

There are good reasons for this: The existing bells are very old and heavy, difficult to ring and are stressing the tower, leading to the high possibility of future costs. The new, lighter bells are more cost effective, with less stress to the tower structure, they have an improved ring and being at a lower level will create less movement and swing. The lighter bells are more manageable and accessible for all ages.

The existing six bells have been preserved and remain in place at their higher level for historical and conservation value, with chiming aparatus.


Your help will ensure that our tower is safe and secure and that the bells of St Winnow are reinstated and then sustained for future generations.

The new bells will allow for the traditional peel at events, special to many of us at important times in our lives, such as weddings, christenings and key Christian dates such as Christmas, Easter and major festivals.

Today we recognise the importance of involving our ringers in the future of our church and community. The new bells will revitalise St Winnow, supporting our young people who will progress to be our main bell ringers of the future. The lighter bells will also particularly aid with teaching our younger ringers (being capable of being rung by year five and six pupils), create a ring that is easy and interesting, and be easier for our elderly generation.

Plans are already in hand to extend our teaching programme to other schools in the area, plus the cubs, scouts and guides under the tutelage of Robert Pearce, our enthusiastic Tower Captain and ringing expert, who has also created a bell ringing badge for the cubs and scouts groups in the area.


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