Somerset

Taunton church bells rung for final time ahead of refit

Bells at St Mary's Magdalene Church in Taunton
Image caption The church bells will be replaced as they are out of tune and very difficult to ring

A set of church bells that are difficult to ring because they were set too high up are to peal for the final time before they are replaced.

The set of 15 bells at St Mary Magdalene Church in Taunton swing unpredictably because of their height.

All but one will be recast and set lower down the tower so they are easier to ring - with the new bells expected to be in place by October.

The 300 year-old carillon has broken so this will also be replaced.

'So difficult'

The Bells of St Mary's project was launched in June 2012 with the aim of raising £300,000. So far £223,000 has been raised by various appeals.

Rosemary Tuhey from the project said: "It's going to deliver something we can all be proud of as a town.

"It all started because we'd been unable to teach on the bells because they are so difficult.

"We realised that we were all getting on a bit and if we didn't do something soon there would be no bells ringing from that church at all."

The bells will be be coming down in April after preparatory work is carried out.

She added: "There's quite a lot of work to do getting off their wheels and their clappers, and getting the room ready and lowering the tower for them to go into and taking out all the old bits of carillon electrical work.

"Once the bells come down, we're going to put up a webcam so that people in the town can see what's going on."

The bell that is not being recast is the lightest, known as the treble bell. This is a memorial to four St Mary's ringers killed in World War One and will be put on display in the church.

Bell ringer Mike Hansford said: "We certainly won't miss these bells because they are very untuneful, they're very difficult to ring.

"Hopefully by the time we have re-hung them they will be a joy to ring."

The bells were rung for a final time at 15:30 GMT.

Image caption The bells were rung for the final time on Friday afternoon

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