Audlem St James Bell Restoration Appeal
Introduction to the bells of St James, Audlem
The Audlem bells were cast and hung in the tower nearly 300 years ago. The bells are in reasonable condition but unfortunately the wooden frame they hang in is of the same age and is moving as the bells swing. This could eventually damage the tower structure.
There are six bells all cast in 1736 by a Abel Rudhall of Gloucester. They were rehung in 1891. The bells vary in weight and in the key to which they are tuned and there are inscriptions on each bell:
- 1st – 4.25cwt. When you ring I’ll sweetly sing
- 2nd – 4.5cwt. Peace and good neighbourhood
- 3rd – 5cwt. Prosperity to this parish
- 4th – 5.5cwt. May the Church of England forever flourish
- 5th – 7.5cwt. I to the church the living call and to the grave do summon all
- 6th – 9cwt. The work of Abel Rudhall cast us all
In 2020 an inspection by three different specialists recommended that it is time for the bells and frame to have a major overhaul. The bells need to be removed from the frame, lowered to the ground and taken to the bell founders. Whilst the bells are out of the tower a modern steel frame will be installed which will not move as the bells are rung. The bells and the bell ringing in the village will then be saved.
The ABRA appeal
We need to raise funds to undertake this work and to make sure that the bells will last into the next century. The total cost will be in the region of £77,000 and we could reduce the cost by up to £11,000 by the use of local volunteers. Please consider a donation to help preserve our ancient village tradition and if you are able to give your time or help with physical labour then please register your interest.
You can donate at JustGiving.com or with a cheque made payable to to Audlem PCC and endorsed ‘Bell Restoration’ on the rear. Post to ABRA, c/o Willow Farm, Bunsley Bank, Audlem, CW3 0HS. Please remember that your donation can be gift aided which increases its value by 25%. This can be done using this form.
Latest news from the Project
The technical team will soon be deciding the preferred supplier. This is an exciting moment for the project as we commit ourselves to the bell hangers who will deliver the expertise to get the job done. We continue to work with the PCC developing the church Faculty and hope that the our plans will be discussed at the CoE Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) on 18th December. We are investigating how to apply for a generous grant from the Chester Diocese Guild of Church Bell Ringers who are meeting on 7th January 2021.