Bell Restoration Project
Dismantling the bells
The dismantling of the bells prior to restoration was marked with a number of special rings, so that local ringers could have one final chance to experience our unwieldy bells. The last ring took place on Thursday 14th March 2019 when Anne Body, Maire Warwick, Phil Morse, Richard Warwick, Owen Borlase and Kevan Borlase gathered to ring the last quarter peal on the bells. The next day the bells would become un-ringable.
March 15th brought together a team to dismantle the bells in readiness for their removal from the tower.
The first task was to label the ropes and drop them down from the tower. Then they had to be coiled and set aside to be stored in a warm, dry spare bedroom until they were needed again.
Sometimes several jobs could be done at the same time but at others everyone was needed on the same job. Some nuts can be incredibly difficult to shift.
Meanwhile down in the ringing chamber all the peal boards had to be removed and stored out of harms way. The Ellacombe Chiming mechanism was removed from the wall and jugs were taken off the rope guide. Floor plans had to be produced showing where the rope holes were positioned in the bell chamber and the clock room.
Up in the tower the work of dismantling started in earnest. The stays, sliders and chime hammers all had to be removed, labelled and set aside safely; the wheels had to be split into their two parts and extracted from the bell frame; and every nut and bolt had to be loosened or removed.
Eventually all was done. The wooden parts had been removed, the bolts on the bearings had been loosened and the cross bars on the frame had been set aside. The team felt rightly pleased with themselves after a good days work. It had been a long day but a great deal had been achieved.