The Bells Are Back!

Last Tuesday saw 5 bells being delivered to St James’. The two old bells that were taken away for tuning and repair were joined by their new siblings; two brand new trebles and the tenor bell which has been relocated from Cornwall.

On Tuesday afternoon, an 18T lorry, courtesy of sponsor Brands2hands, arrived at the John Taylor Bell Foundry in Loughborough and loaded our five bells, along with the new wheels, stays, sliders, clappers, pulley boxes and other various fitments. The bells were put onto pallets to make transportation easier and were taken back to Brands2hands’ warehouse in Old Dalby for onward transport to Ab Kettleby by smaller vehicles during the evening.

Loading the bells

The first bells and fittings arrived in Church Lane just before 17:30 to a patiently waiting crowd of local ringers. The first three bells to arrive were the smallest bells – the two new trebles, and the existing old treble – numbers 1, 2 and 3 of the new peal. They were unloaded from the van – the tail-lift and pallet trucks making short work of the process – and transferred to the church.

Number 3 returns

A ramp had been constructed to allow the step into the church to be navigated with ease.

Before we knew it, the first three bells were in the aisle ready to be winched up.

The first three bells arrive

First up was the new number 2.


Shortly followed by the number 3.

And then the brand new treble.


These bells only made it as far as the intermediate chamber, as the frame for them still needs to be constructed or reconstructed!

The two larger bells were fetched from Old Dalby in separate vehicles; the heavy tenor arriving on a trailer. The number 4 (old number 2) was taken off the van with the tail-lift, but we needed a special piece of equipment to take the new tenor from the trailer. Fortunately, help was on hand from a local farmer and his telescopic forklift – light work was made of moving the tenor from the trailer and a good way onto the path before pallet trucks took it the rest of the way to the church.

Telescopic forklift makes light work of moving the tenor

The Tenor

The number 4 was hoisted all the way up to the second floor and placed straight into its pit.

Then it was time for the tenor – we had already established that it wouldn’t be possible for the tenor to fit through the doorway into the base of the tower, so it needed to be lifted over the screen instead. Various combinations of winch were used in various different places, along with various people pulling on strops before eventually, with the help of a “chain pull”, the tenor made its gentle descent on the other side of the screen, before being slowly hoisted up to the intermediate chamber.

Tenor doesn't fit through the door

With that it was nearly 10pm, so we called it a day and made a weary beeline for the Sugar Loaf for some well deserved refreshment.

Posted in Augmentation.