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Church bells to ring out for the first time in years

PUBLISHED: 06:30 13 August 2014

At South Creake Church are (from left) is Oliver Prince-White, Barbara Allen, Alicxe Allen (5), Alison Wakeman and Nigel Kenyon Jones. Picture: Ian Burt

At South Creake Church are (from left) is Oliver Prince-White, Barbara Allen, Alicxe Allen (5), Alison Wakeman and Nigel Kenyon Jones. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2014

Church bells are to ring out across a village near Fakenham for the first time in years.

The bells at St Mary’s Church, South Creake have been silent to protect them from damage.

But, after receiving a £16,100 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, now the Parochial Church Council (PCC) can carry out the essential restoration work to set them ringing again by the end of the year.

The rector, father Clive Wylie, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the bells of South Creake will be heard again in the village after their long silence.

“It is also very good news that we shall now be able to return to the long-held tradition in this church of ringing the Angelus bell twice a day using an electronic tolling system.

“The sound of church bells across our villages is a particularly important part of English life and an effective way of engaging with the community.”

At the heart of the project is the installation of an Ellacombe chiming apparatus.

This device enables one person to ring all five bells at ground level in the church tower.

The five bells at South Creake, a fine peal cast in 1826 by William Dobson of Downham Market, hang in a magnificent mediaeval frame too fragile to support the bells in full circle ringing.

However, as part of this project the PCC is going to install lighting in the tower staircase and the bell chamber so that escorted visitors can see in safety the church’s hidden heritage.

Work on the bells will be carried out by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry of London and should be completed by November.

Robyn Llewellyn, head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said: “This grant is a great example of how funding from HLF benefits people, heritage and communities.

“The bells will be restored, their story shared and the tradition of bell ringing will continue.”

Are you involved in a church restoration project? E mail newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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