VIDEO: Long Stratton church bells removed as part of restoration work paid for the by Heritage Lottery Fund

One of the oldest church bells in the county was taken down yesterday with five other bells from a Norfolk church for the start of restoration work to overcome centuries of wear and tear.

Since 1320, the bell, built by Thomas De Lynn at Norwich Foundry, has heralded the start of church services, weddings and funerals at St Mary's church in Long Stratton, but maintenance work is needed to enable the six bells to chime for another 100 years.

The six bells, some weighing up to half a tonne, were lowered the 25ft from the bell chamber in the church tower to the ringing chamber using hoists before being winched onto a lorry.

Some others among them date back to 1734, and the artefacts were being transported to Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London for the restoration, funded by �34,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Maintenance needs to be carried out to the ball bearings which rotate the bells and the clapper inside the bell. The project is due to be finished by Easter. Children from the village primary school watched and – as can be seen – were keen to lend a hand.

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