The Huntshaw Church bells project.

Huntshaw’s Historic Bells drop into the limelight – After 500 years!

For over a year the ‘Friends of Huntshaw Bells’ have been raising money through grants, sponsorship and events and have raised so far £17k. There is a long way to go yet to get the full £30k needed, but last month saw a big step on the way.

Because Taylors of Loughborough (the Bell Founders) had a slot in their work schedule come free due to a cancellation they were able to come down and over a 3 day period remove the bells as a first step.

The tower in its present form was added to church in 1439 with 3 bells sitting on a framework of oak trusses; but over the centuries with decay in some of the trusses the bells have been sinking under their own weight making them unringable for the past 20 years, plus also needing attention with new fittings and bearings etc – plus one of them needs specialist welding as it is cracked.

The earliest bell, the tenor, dates from 1505 and was cast by Thomas Gefferies in Bristol, and this will be the first time it has seen daylight in 500 years! The other two are more local, one being cast in in Exeter in 1665 and the other in 1634 by “WK” in Barnstaple – this one is believed to be only 1 of 8 known to exist in the country. We still have some grant applications lodged which we hope will come to fruition soon, but our next event is: –

The Art and Science of Bells and Bell Ringing.” – On Sat 14th May 2.30pm – with Ian Campbell.

Entry free but donations welcome.

Ian will bring an 8 ft high bell stand and large bell into the church to demonstrate ringing in the “up” position and when down. He will also bring a set of handbells and volunteers to demonstrate change ringing, and on his laptop connected to speakers he will demonstrate the “Magic of Bells.” – Ian says his talk will be more like ‘entertainment’ than a talk and afterwards everybody will have a chance to try to ring the bell. Whilst this is happening there will be Cream Teas (with pink bubbly), Devon Guild of Ringers displays and models to view, and activities for the children with some small prizes for them, a bell-shaped cake raffle and a “guess the weight” of a handbell (the handbell being the noisy prize!).

In renovating we also found a pristine 600-year-old hand-made nail in the bell chamber, so at about 4pm we’re going to hold an auction for it – just for Fun! (It will be framed and with certificate of provenance).

Further ahead: – on the afternoon of Sunday 17th July we are holding a “Walking Treasure Hunt” of about 3 to 5 miles ending at the church with a “Beer and Burger BBQ!”

For further info, or to become a sponsor, contact [email protected]

The 1505 Tenor bell comes down – first time in 517 years!

In transit.

In transit.

Ready for the off.

New steel UB goes up as replacement support.


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