Bells fall silent at Hartlepool church as restoration project begins

Work has begun on a project at a Hartlepool church to restore its collection of bells so they can ring out once again.

Thursday, 9th June 2022, 4:23 pm

Scaffolding went up at All Saints Church, at Stranton, in advance of the removal of its eight bells that have been in place for more than 100 years.

They will be taken to specialists in Leicestershire where they will be refurbished and retuned.

The bells include one that is more than 400 years old and was at the centre of a court battle earlier this year about whether it should be removed.

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Volunteers (left to right) Andrew Craig, Thelma Adams and Andrew Frost outside All Saints Church, Stranton. Picture by FRANK REID

Andrew Frost, secretary of the Hartlepool Guild of Bellringers, which is involved in the restoration project, said: “Bells have hung in the tower at Stranton since at least 1600.

"The present ring of eight bells were installed in 1908 and they have had very little work done on them in the last 110 years.

"Now they will be removed from the tower, refurbished, retuned and hung again with all new fittings by Taylor’s of Loughborough.

"When rung again the bells will still have Stranton’s distinctive sound but they will be in tune.

The bell tower at All Saints Church, Stranton with a window removed to allow the removal of bells for restoration. Picture by FRANK REID

"Bell ringers have found that the bells have been very difficult to ring so, after the work, it will be much easier.”

It means Stranton’s bells will now be silent until around the end of October and the church’s clock is also being stopped.

Mason and Forster Stonemasons of Sunderland undertook the difficult task of removing the west window from the tower so the bells can be removed by crane next month.

Local volunteer bell ringers including Thelma Adams, Peter Anderson, Andrew Craig and Mr Frost removed the old bell fittings.

Scaffolding at All Saints Church for the start of the work.

Volunteers will also be on hand in July to help an expert from Taylor’s of Loughborough remove the bells for transportation to their foundry.

Later in September, the iron and steel bell frame will be cleaned and painted to ensure it remains in good condition for another 100 years.

The project has been funded by private donations and by grants from charitable trusts which Andrew said they and the congregation are very grateful for.

The Hartlepool bellringers are always looking for people who would like to learn to ring with them.

Call Mr Frost on (01429) 281767 to find out more.