Restored 'jubilee' bells re-hung at Astley church

A 700-year-old bell is to be re-hung in a Shropshire church after undergoing months of restoration work.

Martin Locke, of St Mary's church, Astley, said the bell, which was believed to have been cast by a local founder in 1270, "could be the oldest in Shropshire".

It will be re-hung with an 18th bell, which was removed with the older bell last year so they could be refurbished.

The newer bell will be named Elizabeth to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Mr Locke said it had been brought in to chime the hours to ensure the original bell's longevity.

Meanwhile, the 13th Century bell, which will be named Mary after the church's patron saint at a special re-dedication service on Tuesday evening, will be rung to announce services.

The bells will be on show to the public and local schoolchildren before being re-hung on Wednesday.

Mr Locke said the church was "thrilled" the long-term future of its old bell had been guaranteed and thanked the Heritage Lottery Fund and local sponsors for funding the work.

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