Renovated church bells to ring out ahead of performance by choristers

Aysgarth Church. Photo: Pip Pointon.

The recently renovated bells of St Andrew’s Church in Aysgarth will welcome the Girl Choristers of Bradford Cathedral on the afternoon on Sunday, March 8

The choristers will then lead a traditional service of Choral Evensong from the Book of Common Prayer starting at 4.30pm.

This will showcase psalms, canticles and anthems that the choristers sing as part of the Opus Dei – the weekly round of services in the cathedral. All are welcome to attend this beautiful and moving service.

It is hoped that a full band of six will ring the bells prior to the service – almost the first time that this has been possible since the bells were renovated.

The Tower Captain, Stewart Huntington, explained that the bells were silent at the end of 2019 because, after almost 200 years, their clappers needed replacing.

The clapper in bell four had broken and was replaced first.  The other five were also then removed and sent to John Taylor & Co in Loughborough (the sole surviving bell foundry in the UK) to enable replacements to be made exactly the same length as the old ones so that they would strike the bell in precisely the same place.

The old bell clappers fixed on boards ready to go to Loughborough for repair by Stewart Huntington.

He said the bells had been rung a few times since the clappers were replaced but it hadn’t often been possible to have a full team of ringers.  Instead work has concentrated on repairing and redecorating the ringing chamber.

The cost of replacing the clappers, about £2,000, has been met from the donations made to the church during its gift day in November

Mr Huntington said: “Bell ringing is a chance to be part of a local friendly team, learning the skills whilst enjoying and achieving something different. People of all ages learn to ring at their own pace and to take part as and when they can.

“To continue the art and tradition of bell ringing at St Andrew’s we are looking for new members . Anyone who is interested is always warmly welcome and John Limbach and I are happy to teach.”