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!

Sunday Service Ringing

Learn to RingSunday 7th September sees a significant milestone being reached for the bell ringers of St James’ church. For the first time in living memory, the church bells will be rung full-circle prior to the Sunday services at St James’, Ab Kettleby.

Our newly recruited band of ringers are looking forward to putting their skills to the test on Sunday morning at 08:45, leading up to the main service of the day which starts at 09:15.

Wheel returns

Number Two Wheel

Number Two Wheel

Number two’s wheel has been refurbished and replaced. Took a bit longer than anticipated, but we’re all set for practice night, tonight!

Wheel Maintenance

This evening’s practice involved our two most advanced ‘learners’ getting to grips with call changes! Amazing effort – just two months ago, they didn’t know a tail-end from a sally! Bells at Ab Kettleby

However, we had to finish practice night a bit earlier than normal, as work is required on our number 2 bell’s wheel. Some of the shrouding was already missing when we started to ring back in June, but the ‘broken stay’ incident caused it to shed a bit more. Advice was given that the wheel ought to be looked at sooner, rather than later.

After practice tonight, we managed to remove the wheel and lower it out of the tower. Removing nuts and bolts that haven’t been touched for 64 years is not the easiest thing to do!

It is a great thing that we are so close to a bell foundry – the wheel should be back by next week!

New Stay

New Stay #2

New Stay Bell #2

The replacement stay was installed on Sunday afternoon, in plenty of time for our Wednesday night practice. It’s been fitted with a new bolt, along with the old bolt, and a lick of paint applied to Hastings toggle too.

During the installation of the new stay, we noticed that some more of the shrouding (rope guides) of the bell wheel has become detached. It was already missing a small section, but it’s going to need some attention before too long.

Broken Stay

Broken Stay Bell #2
Oh dear – we had a bit of a mishap at our practice session tonight. A broken stay on number 2 bell.

Its failure was a bit strange – but was explained when realised that the stay hasn’t completely sheared off. We heard a bit of a thud, which was put down to just a heavy bash on the stay/slider/toggle (we have Hastings stays) and the bell seemed to set without issue. It was rung again, and once again, set  – but something did look a little amiss when the bell stopped – but the rope was tied up as normal. About 30 seconds later, while we were just discussing the ringing, the stay finally succumbed and the rope disappeared.

We’ve all learnt a thing or two. Although there’s some work to be done over the next few days!

Learners Ringing in Rounds

On Wednesday 4th June, we started regular bell-ringing practice nights for the first time since the restoration of the church. Six new recruits came along, all eager to learn to ring.

In the four weeks since then, three of the original six are now able ring a bell pretty much unaided. Since we began, two of our three bells have been tied to muffle the sound from our neighbours. But last night, we we took the opportunity to take the ties and muffles off and attempt to ring some rounds!

Each learner took it in turns on their chosen bell, with two other ringers taking the other two ropes, and off we went! A significant milestone in the progress of the three ringers was achieved, and we’re all very proud of them!

It’s still going to need a bit more practice, but hopefully we will be able to ring for Sunday services in the very near future.