By RICHARD WOOD
Monday, December 31, 2012
The familiar sound of bells has returned to a part of the Waveney Valley after nearly four months away.
The 10 bells of Beccles Bell Tower can once again be heard in all their resplendent glory after people across the town joined together to pay for vital maintenance work.
Nearly £50,000 had to be raised for the restoration project, with the bearings, gudgeons and headstocks repaired on all of the bells, work done on the wheel from the sixth, and a recast of the third bell, which was found to have three large cracks.
The Beccles Company of Ringers held stalls and wrote to everyone in the town as they appealed for help to raise the money, with the Beccles Feoffees, also known as the Beccles Townlands Charity, making a significant contribution.
Tower Captain Faith Darch said: “It is lovely to have them back. We have been fundraising for just over two years and there has been tremendous generosity from people in the town.”
Feoffees collector Jennifer Langeskov said: “As in keeping with their commitment to the people, organisations and historic buildings of Beccles, the Feoffees were once again happy to contribute so that Beccles inhabitants could hear once again all ten of these magnificent bells.
“The people of Beccles, who contributed handsomely towards the restoration work have a bell tower to be proud of and one that is steeped in history.”
The tower’s original eight bells were replaced by 10 in 1762. Three of those still ring today, with the others recast.
The third bell had been recast in 1804, but it was not the same quality as the others, leading to the cracks appearing.
It was decided that the bell would be recast rather than repaired, and was sent to Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London, where all of the work was completed.
The bells first sounded out again on December 12.