The 8 bells in the tower of St Thomas’ Heptonstall were installed 100 years ago this year (November 1912). They are widely regarded as being among the finest peals of 8 bells in the country. Since their installation they have received regular routine maintenance, but they have required no major works to keep them in good working order.
However 2 years ago a detailed inspection of the bells and fittings was carried out by the bell founders and some major refurbishment and upgrading is now necessary. This refurbishment should ensure that the bells can continue to ring out, without need for any further major investment for another 100 years or more.
The Parochial Church Council (PCC) considered the bell founders’ report and agreed to apply for the required permission (Faculty) from the Diocesan Advisory Committee to allow the works to be carried out. This permission has now been granted and a quotation obtained from the bell founders has been approved by the PCC.
We are therefore ready to have the work carried out. Briefly this will consist of removing the bells from the tower, transporting them to the Bell foundry in Loughborough where they will be “quarter-turned” (to allow the clappers to strike on unworn surfaces of the bells) and then returning them to the tower where they will be re-hung with new modern fittings.
The work is due to commence on Wednesday 29th August with the removal of the bells taking place over the following two or three days. All work, including the rehanging should be complete by early October and we are planning a service of re-dedication of the bells at the end of November to coincide with the centenary of the original installation.
In the meantime we need to raise funds to pay for the work. A total of £20,000 is needed and the bell-ringers have already raised or obtained pledges for nearly £5,000. The church itself is under constant pressure to maintain sufficient income to cover day-to-day costs and other maintenance requirements, so any donations towards the cost of the bells project would be most gratefully received.
Gift aided donations allow tax to be reclaimed, so that every £1.00 donated is worth approx. £1.25 to the fund. If you wish to donate, please send either cash or cheque to me at the vicarage or to the appeal co-ordinator, George Campling, Innisfree, Colden, HX7 7PF. Cheques should be made payable to: Heptonstall PCC—St Thomas the Apostle Bells Fund. If you are a tax-payer please complete a gift aid declaration (envelopes and/or forms available in the church) and send it with your donation.
Thank you for your support
Reverend Howard Pask
Vicar of St James, Hebden Bridge and St Thomas the Apostle, Heptonstall
More about the bells at St Thomas Church can be seen on the church’s own website…