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Church bells at Laxfield, Suffolk to be restored 'by Christmas'

image copyrightLaxfield Bells
image captionTwo of the bells at All Saints Church in Laxfield date from the 15th Century

A team has begun the task of restoring 500-year-old church bells in an upgrade that could see them tolling again by Christmas.

The six bells at All Saints Church in Laxfield, Suffolk were "sharp or flat" and had been deemed "un-ringable".

The delicate removal work was delayed by lockdown, but can now be viewed via a live webcam in the church tower.

Tower captain Fiona Shuttle said the sound of the bells would always be "a special part of village life".

image copyrightLaxfield Bells
image captionIt is hoped the bells will be rung again on Christmas Eve

The restoration appeal was launched after a survey led by the Suffolk Guild of Ringers concluded the bells were "virtually un-ringable", and their oak frame "unstable".

A National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £66,600 helped the three-year programme reach its target of £170,000.

The bells, which each weigh up to 750kg (1,650lb), were last overhauled 100 years ago.

image copyrightLaxfield Bells
image captionSpecialists from the Taylor Bells of Loughborough could be seen removing the bells from the tower this week

The two oldest bells - dating from 1470 and 1498 - will be preserved in situ at the top of the tower along with the church's medieval oak frame.

But the four others, which are badly out of tune, are being taken down and recast and will be placed lower in the tower in a new cast iron surround.

They will be joined by a pair of bells made for Prinknash Abbey in Gloucester but never used, as well as two more new bells, to make a set of eight in the surround.

image copyrightLaxfield Bells
image captionA section of the medieval oak frame which will be cleaned and kept in place at All Saints Church
image copyrightGoogle
image captionAll Saints Church in Laxfield, near Framlingham

Mrs Shuttle said the hope was to hear a "full octave sound" in time for Christmas Eve services.

"They do have a plonky sound at the moment, but it will be amazing to hear them ring again after many months of silence," she said.

A walkway will also be installed to allow visitors to see the bells.

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Related Topics

  • Laxfield
  • National Lottery
  • Churches

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