New Tenor

We have been sent this photograph of our new tenor bell just after it was removed from its existing installation at Gorran, Cornwall. The bell will be taken to John Taylor & Co in Loughborough this week to be checked and tuned if necessary ready for hanging in St James’ before Easter.


Gorran's No 5, soon to be Ab Kettleby's No 6.

Gorran’s No 5, soon to be Ab Kettleby’s No 6.

With thanks to Bob Thornton of Gorran for the photograph.

Target in sight

Bells at Ab KettlebyThis week sees news that Mars in the Community have awarded us a grant of £638 towards the augmentation project.

Along with other recent private donations, we now have over 90% of the funds secured to hang the new bells in the tower.

Augmentation Update

News on the augmentation appeal has been a little absent on the website of late, however, quite a bit has been happening in the background!

Bells at St James' Ab Kettleby

We have been awarded a couple of very significant grants. Leicester Diocesan Guild’s Bell Restoration Fund have very generously granted us £2,000 and East Midlands Airport Community Fund have awarded a £1,000 grant for the project. Meanwhile, in early summer, the Barbara Welby Trust had promised a £1,000 donation to the fund, which we gratefully received in October. Added to that, is an amazing £2200 from Captain James’ 100 mile bike ride, and £300 from the Sharpe Trust. All in all, October was a bumper month!

That puts us within 25% of our fundraising target for the fixtures and fittings. Two of our three additional bells will be new bells, the funding for which, is secure from individual donors. The exciting decision was therefore made to place the order for the two new bells as there is a few months’ lead time before they will be cast.

Confirmation was received this week, that the casting of our new bells will take place at John Taylor & Co Bell Foundry in Loughborough on Thursday 5th February 2015. Our new tenor should be in the bell foundry in Loughborough by Christmas ready for a tune up. As long as the remaining funds for the fixtures and fittings are in place at that time, the hanging of the bells should therefore take place during March and we could be ringing a new peal of six bells in time for Easter!

The casting of our bells may be viewed at John Taylor & Co., but numbers are limited – keep an eye on the website in coming weeks for details of how you can be there to witness history.

Wedding at Ab Kettleby

Wedding Congregation


Today, St James’ church was packed as the first wedding service since the restoration of the church took place.


Nat and Haydn


Our very own band of local ringers were thrilled and honoured to ring the bells in celebration of the occasion!

Helen and Martin deep in concentration


Congratulations Nat and Haydn – we all wish you a lifetime of happiness together! Your wedding will take its place in history, by being the last wedding at Ab Kettleby with just three bells!

Another New Stay

Over the last couple of weeks, it has been noticed that the treble bell has become increasingly deeply set. Examination of the stay show that it had fractured and had become rather crooked. However it was still clinging on as long as we were very gentle with the bell and avoided giving the stay a bash!

But the time came last night to remove the stay and organise a replacement. The stay removal from the treble was much easier than the last one removed from number 2. As this stay had not been completely broken, there was no spreading of the wood inside the headstock.

Examination of the wood showed some early signs of rot; testament to the age of the wood, along with the frequent wet/dry cycle that the bell chamber has endured before/during the church restoration. (For more details of the spire leak, see the Bells page.) These little issues are bound to happen with such an old installation which hasn’t been used for many years. Now we’re actively ringing the bells again, we’re forced to work through the problems as they present themselves.

First thing this morning Taylors of Loughborough, made a new stay and it was in place and fitted by 10:30am! One of the many advantages of having a bell founder just down the road!

Restoring England’s Heritage

About a year ago, the BBC visited St James’ church, Ab Kettleby to film a section for ‘Restoring England’s Heritage’. The programme was first shown on BBC ONE in December 2013 and also takes a look at Taylor’s Bell Foundry in Loughborough (where two of our three donated bells will be cast in due course.)St James, Ab Kettleby

If you missed in last time around, a repeat is being shown on BBC TWO on 11th October at 18:00.

More details available on the programme page

Sponsored Cycle Ride – Help Needed!


In aid of our augmentation appeal, I’m cycling 100 miles in the National Forest Autumn Challenge which starts from Loughborough on Sunday 5th October 2014.

I have never managed to cycle 100 miles in one day, let alone without a break! I am aiming to complete the non-stop challenge in under 6 hours!

Please be generous with your donation- every penny we raise will go towards the augmentation project.

Support James' 100 miles Cycle Ride



Thank you very much for your support

James (Tower Captain)


SallyWe’re very pleased to announce that donations for our Bell Augmentation Fund can finally be accepted online!

It’s been a bit of a struggle to work out the best way to achieve this, as the St James’ Ab Kettleby PCC is exempt from registering as a charity. Furthermore, the PCC does not have its own HMRC Gift-aid reference – all Gift-aid is claimed on behalf of the PCC by a third party. This virtually rules out conventional charitable giving websites, such as Just Giving and Virgin Money Giving. (Not to mention their rather steep fees and charges!)

Just when it looked like it might not be possible, came to the rescue with their Give.Net service. Stewardship themselves are a Christian based charity, and have been set up to specifically help churches with matters of a financial nature. That puts them in the right position to help small churches and PCCs with their knowledge and experience of how to start receiving donations on-line and claim the very valuable Gift-aid accordingly. Plus, because they are a charity, they don’t charge exorbitant fees which would very quickly erode the value of a donation.

To reward our hard-work in getting this off the ground, why not make a donation now and help us get the three new bells up into the tower?

To donate, just click on this button which you’ll find throughout the site:

Support us at

Thank you very much!