Swansea church bells return to Chile

Wednesday 11 August 2010, 12:49

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Three church bells are to be returned to Chile after spending more than 150 years in a south Wales church.

The bells had been sold for scrap following a fire at the church of La Compania de Jesus in the Chilean capital of Santiago in 1863.

The blaze, which happened during the Catholic feast of the Immaculate Conception, killed more than 2,500 people and completely destroyed the church. Only the five bells survived the fire, and three were bought by a British merchant, Graham Vivian. They were installed at the All Saints Church in Oystermouth, where the merchant's family had a pew.

The bells were originally placed in the All Saints tower in 1865 but taken down and installed in the church porch in 1964 when the church structure could no longer support their weight.

Last year, the Chilean embassy started negotiations with the Church in Wales and the church council decided to return the bells as a gift to mark Chile's 200th birthday year, following Chile's earthquake in February 2010.

The three bells will form the centrepiece of a new memorial on the site of the old church.

Read more on this story on the Daily Post website.

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