THE BUTTSBURY BELLThe Bell arrives from the restorers| The bell is downloaded ready| The Bell enters the Church| The Bell is raised ready for rehanging|
The bell weighing about 6 cwt was cast in the mid 15th century by Henry Jordan of London although it has also been attributed to William Chamberlain also of Inndon. (Some records state that there were three bells at Buttsbury but nothing is now known about the other two.) The bell had not been used since 1993 when it was found to be cracked. The churchwardens were advised that the bell could be repaired by welding but as there were other pressing needs for the small amount of finance available, nothing was done.
In 1997 following the election of a bellringer as a churchwarden and with the advent of the millenium the PCC agreed that quotations for the repairs should be obtained. The work involved lowering the bell to the floor of the church, transporting it to Cambridge for welding and rehanging it with other necessary works to its fittings. The total cost amounted to f3,100. The PCC could not afford such a sum but agreed that nevertheless a faculty should be sought whilst efforts were made to find the funds.
Very many letters were written to various grant making charities and organisations. Eventually four grants totalling £1,425 were promised of which the largest at f600 was from The Essex Heriage Trust. And then, one of the congregation most generously offered to provide the remainder. The grant of the faculty came in October 1998 so the PCC were then able to give Whites of Appleton the order to proceed.
The bell was removed from the tower on 3 June, watched with great interest by the ladies attending to the church flowers that morning and taken to Soundweld for its repair by welding. Wednesday 25 August dawned bright and clear. By 8.30 our bellringer warden had climbed the tower and was removing the rubbish and guano that towers habitually collect. All was ready by 10.00 when the bell was expected to arrive.
The rehanging team comprising Graham, Mark and Frank were soon unloading their truck. The bell was posed for photographs both on the church path and whilst being hauled up the tower. By 1.30 the bell was rehung fitted with an independent staple with trigger action clapper, designed to avoid the possibility of the clapper being held against the bell and a new bellrope. The restored bell has a lovely tone.
The bell was rung for Evensong on the following Sunday, as it will now be rung for every service, not only calling people to service but also reminding others of God's presence. Why not come along to hear it at one of our services?