Augmentation Progress

Tenor for Ab KettlebyA visit to the John Taylor & Co Bell Foundry in Loughborough today, reveals that preparations for the new bell casting and augmentation is well under way. The bell which will become our Tenor was in the workshop, after making its way up from Gorran, Cornwall, just before Christmas. We took the opportunity to hoist it up on a crane and sound the bell, which you can hear in the video clip below.

Next door in the foundry hall, preparation work is taking place for the casting of the bells and the metal work we need to hang them. The ‘moulds’ are in the process of being created for the new piece of frame we need to hang the new treble; and the casting boxes for the new headstocks were all but ready for their metal. Also evident in the foundry hall were the ‘crooks’ (below) used to make the moulds for the new bells. These, of course, will be created in the next couple of weeks ready for casting day on 5th February.


Watch our Bells Being Cast


The Tenor

The bell-ringers in Ab Kettleby are very keen to get three more bells into St James’ church, to add to the existing three. We are therefore looking forward, with some considerable excitement, to the casting of two brand new bells for our tower which will take place in February!

We have a very limited number of spaces to watch history literally being made as the new bells for Ab Kettleby will be cast at John Taylor & Co Bell Foundry in Loughborough on Thursday 5th February 1:30 pm. Tickets are £10 each, on a first-come-first-served basis.

To reserve your place on this “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity, drop us a line via the contact us page, making sure you include your phone number and email address.

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!