Hartlepool church bells will chime with glee after revamp

Jack Hanlon with Andrew Frost outside St Oswald's Hartlepool
Jack Hanlon with Andrew Frost outside St Oswald's Hartlepool

The sounds of bells will ring out once again after a unique set of bells are rededicated this weekend.

The bells in St Oswald’s Church, in Brougham Terrace, Hartlepool, were cast and installed by John Warner & Son in 1902 and are the only single ring of 10 bells to be cast by the firm anywhere in the world.

Andrew Frost with the newly refurbished bells of St Oswalds.

Andrew Frost with the newly refurbished bells of St Oswalds.

Now they are due to be brought back into use after they were refurbished.

Sunday’s 3pm rededication ceremony will be led by the Bishop of Durham Paul Butler, and bring together ceremonial mayor of Hartlepool, Councillor Mary Fleet with Mayoress Councillor Sheila Griffin.

It will be supported by the Durham and Newcastle Diocesan Association of Church Bellringers (D&N).

The bells were rarely rung when ringing in the town fell into decline and because there had been little maintenance carried out.

The bells are now completely restored with many new parts which makes ringing them a pleasure rather than the chore it was in the past.

Andrew Frost

In 2010, efforts began to attract more people to campanology across the town and there are now around 30 ringers thanks to the churches and the council.

Andrew Frost, part of the church’s project team, said it had been the wish of the late church stalwart Richard Turner, who was the tower captain and a member of the D&N, to have the bells refurbished.

He added: “Jack Hanlon took over as tower captain and a plan evolved to carry out work on the bells.

“Sadly, Richard passed away before the project could start so completion is made more poignant by his memory.

“The bell-ringers began by asking for donations from local companies and organisations as the parish of St Oswald is among the poorest parishes in the country and was only able to contribute a small amount.

“Together with a significant grant from the D&N, the project could finally begin in the summer of 2015.”

The work was supported by the ringers and their families.

Andrew said: “The bells are now completely restored with many new parts which makes ringing them a pleasure rather than the chore it was in the past.

“It is not often that bells are restored on such a scale,.”

Donors also included EDF Energy Renewables; Heerema Employee Charity Fund; Jesmond ward councillors; Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation; Mason and Gerald Martin Funeral Directors; Richard’s sister Penelope Harnett; Niramax Group Ltd; St Oswald’s Church PCC and Tees Valley Community Foundation.