Hargrave church bell rings for first time in decades after restoration

PCC member Justin Rabett, Rev Cheryl Collins, Churchwarden Jill Upton and PCC member Jill de Laat under the newly restored bell at St Edmunds Church, in Hargrave. ANL-141222-105542001
PCC member Justin Rabett, Rev Cheryl Collins, Churchwarden Jill Upton and PCC member Jill de Laat under the newly restored bell at St Edmunds Church, in Hargrave. ANL-141222-105542001
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Residents in a village near Bury St Edmunds have been treated to a special Christmas treat - the sound of their church bell chiming for the first time in decades.

The bell at St Edmunds Church in Hargrave has been restored as part of efforts by the Parochial Church Council (PCC) to refurbish the church and was rehung in time for the festive season.

Cast in Whitechapel in 1831, it is the youngest of three bells in the church and was restored to glory by Diocesan bell advisor Alan Soult, assisted by Suffolk Guild of Ringers member Paul Ebsworth.

Jill de Laat, chair of Hargrave PCC, said: “After many years of silence, Hargrave can chime a church bell for Sunday service once again.

“All this has been made possible because we have had a lot of help from the village, as well as fund-raising and grants to mend the church and do lots of little bits of restoration.”

During the restoration the bell’s clapper and swinging arm were replaced and a new bell rope was installed, allowing it to swing again in its 16th century wooden frame.

Jill said: “This work forms part of an overall refurbishment of the church, starting with major repairs to the north aisle roof , repointing the tower bricks and renewal of the louvres.”

Although the church’s position away from the village centre dims the noise of the bell, Jill said people have welcomed its musical return.

“Parishioners have reacted favourably to hearing the bell chime once more in Hargrave,” she said.