Bells to sound again following £56k revamp

Members of St Joseph's Church in Ansdell at the Taylor's Bell Foundry

Members of St Joseph's Church in Ansdell at the Taylor's Bell Foundry

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A £56,000 project to revamp 100-year-old bells at a Fylde church is close to completion.

The bells at St Joseph’s Church in Woodlands Road, Ansdell, tolled for the last time earlier this year as work began on replacing parts.

There has been very little work, other than day to day maintenance, done on the bells throughout the last 100 years until this recent restoration.

Edwina Gillett

The peal of eight bells is returning from Taylor’s Bell Foundry in Loughborough, having been cleaned and re-tuned.

The collection will be re-hung in the belfry in September.

Edwina Gillett, part of the bell restoration team said: “Our historic peal of eight bells were cast by Whitechapel Bell Foundry in 1908 and installed in the tower in 1911 at a cost of £800.

“There has been very little work, other than day to day maintenance, done on the bells throughout the last 100 years until this recent restoration.

“We are thrilled to get our bells back and look forward to them ringing out over Ansdell village very soon.”

The revamp work has included a thorough clean of the bell chamber, replacement of parts and transportation to the bell foundry for cleaning and re-tuning.

The complete re-installation of the bells will involve new ringing ropes, as well as the angelus tolling unit. The project has been funded by donations and grants from several individuals and groups including funding one from the Lancashire Association of Changeringers.

The Girls Choir from Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral visited the church in 2014 for an evening of singing to help raise cash, with other funding avenues coming from a barbecue and nine-year-old Liberty Doyle, who raised £350 by taking part in the Green Drive Mile run in October.

The project includes the addition of an ‘angelus’ bell which can be operated remotely and electronically to chime one of the existing bells.

The angelus, which is Latin for angel, is a Catholic devotion commemorating when God made Man and recounts the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary and telling her that she would conceive a child, the son of god.

The angelus is usually accompanied by the ringing of the angelus bell, which is a call to prayer and to spread good-will to everyone.

Taylor’s Foundry, which has helped to refurbish the bells, is the world’s largest working bell foundry.

In 1881 Taylor’s cast ‘Great Paul’, which is the largest British cast bell in Britain, for St Paul’s Cathedral London, weighing more than 17,000kg.

Anyone interested in seeing the bells up close can do so at a special open day on Saturday, August 29.

St Joseph’s Church will be open from 11am to 3pm for people to view the bells before each is re-hung in the tower.