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The final product

The bells in the belfry August 2019

As planned on Sunday 18th August we rang five bells for the morning service at St Andrew's, Calstock and again for Evensong. The ringers were keen to try the new set up and the parishioners were very pleased to have their bells back in action. There was still a bit more work to be done but we now had most of the bells ringing.

Monday brought us all back to the tower so that we could tackle the remaining tasks. The wood accessories for the Number 5 bell had to be set up; the clock hammer had to be put in place and the chime hammer needed to be installed; we also had to test the bells, and finally clean, tidy, remove all the tools and hoover (yes, vacuum) the belfry and clock room.

Doug Petipher and Kevan Borlase ringing

Once again drilling through the cast iron bell frame proved to be hard and slow work but Andrew Ogden and Kevan Borlase got there in the end. By close of play on Tuesday the woodwork on the Number 5 bell was securely attached to the bell frame and all six bells were working. That evening we were able welcome Doug and Beryl Petipher to the church to celebrate their Ruby Wedding Anniversary. As one of our previous Tower Captains, Doug was keen to try out the new arrangement. We were joined by additional bell hangers from Taylor's who came to Calstock to help to give the bells a thorough test. It was agreed by all that the bells went well and were much easier to handle than previously.

Bells "up" in the belfry

With all the bells working the next task was to sort out the clock hammer. This is linked to the clock mechanism and strikes the outside of the Number 5 bell at each hour. With the new headstock, the bell hangs higher in the pit than it did before so the hammer had to be repositioned so that it would strike the bell in the right place on the hour but be out of the way during ringing. After so many months of being out of action there was also a fair amount of adjustment needed to make the clock and hammer strike the correct number of blows at each hour.

Next the chime hammer was fitted in the frame. This is used to toll a single bell and had to be aligned so that it could strike the inside of the Number 3 bell when required, but be out of the way of the bell when it is rung full circle. A new rope for this hammer had to be hung down to the ringing chamber.

All that was left was to clear everything away and do a little bit of touching up of the paintwork on the bell frame. That was it - the job was done. We celebrated with tea and biscuits (we really know how to live in Calstock) and then went our separate ways. Our own bells were back and ringing well. It had been hard work but rewarding. We have set the bells up for another hundred years of use, I hope future generations will enjoy them as much as we do.


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