On 5th January 2015, Whites of Appleton Church Bellhangers lowered all 8 bells from the tower and dismantled the old bell frame.
The bells went to Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London, except the 7th Bell. This went to Soundweld to have some repair work, where it had 9 holes in the top of the bell successfully filled. After this work was complete, it joined the other bells at Whitechapel Bell Foundry. The heaviest bell was smashed up and recast, and the 7th bell was the base on which to tune the others. Bells 1 and 2 had a new form of tuning applied to them – taking metal of the outside as well as the inside! All the bells are a vast improvement sound wise.
Whilst the bells were at the Foundry, Whites of Appleton made and built the frame at their works. The bells were then returned to their works and sat in their frame as they would be in the tower – just to make sure they would all fit!
Whilst all this was happening, the Builder was busy with some vast structural improvements to the tower and creating a base on which the new bellframe would sit. This work was extremely important, and was completed successfully to the specification of the Structural Engineer.
On 12th October, after 9 months, the bells and new bellframe arrived at the Church. The heaviest bell was situated in the church for a Blessing in the Service that evening. Over the next couple of days the Bellhangers, assisted by our Tower Captain, assembled the frame and hung the bells. Then came the jobs of putting the clappers in the bells, fitting the wheels and attaching the ropes.
On Friday 20th November, all the St James’ ringers and some visitors gathered in the tower. They were then rung for the first time since their rehanging, and what a joy it was to hear them ringing again! This was it. We had our bells back. We knew we could get back to normal with Practicing on Thursdays and Service Ringing on Sunday mornings.
I’d like to thank everyone that made this possible.
Thank you to everyone that donated money to the project and to Whites of Appleton for their fantastic work.
St James' Bushey has 8 bells, the heaviest being over 13 hundred-weight. We have a good mix of ringers of all ages and abilities, and we are lucky that many ringers based at other Churches in the local area visit us. We usually ring on a Sunday at 9am before the 9.30am Service. Regular practice night is on a Thursday (except the first Thursday in the month) from 7.30pm to 9pm – everyone is welcome to come along and see what we do.
If you would like to have a try and fancy having a go at ringing our newly rehung bells, do please contact the Tower Captain, Stuart Brant.
We are always keen to recruit new bellringers – most people from about the age 10 upwards can do it! Bellringing is a great challenge, and wonderful life experience. In addition to learning a traditional English skill, you could also learn how to become an effective team player and how to interact with people from all age groups and varied walks of life.
During the year, we arrange an annual outing, where we visit other Churches by prior arrangement to ring their bells. This is always a fun day which usually finishes with a good curry and social nearby. We are involved in the Bushey Festival, and take many people on a tour of the tower, give them a go on the end of a bellrope, and show them the amazing view from the roof – everyone thoroughly enjoys this day. We also ring Handbells in various Services at St James’ throughout the year.