St Laurence Bell Fund


[Bell canon]

Bells hang from a heavy wooden headstock of elm. Modern bells have a flat top and are bolted in place against a flat headstock. The bells at Laurence have a traditional crown-shaped canon and are clamped into a shaped headstock by wrought-iron bands. These bands are in good condition but we will have to remove them in order to get the bells repaired and it is going to be difficult to remove them without damaging them.

We will be refitting the bells rotated by 90 degrees in order to let the clapper strike a fresh arc of the sound bow. The canon is cross-shaped so in theory we just have to refit the clamps to the other two arms of the cross. In practice, the canon will not be perfectly symmetrical and we will have to alter the headstock and clamps to make them fit perfectly.

Our cheapest option would be to cut off the straps and the canons and to convert the bells to a bolted flat-top design. This would also bring us some income as we would be able to sell the scrap canons as bell-metal.

This is very much a last resort because we would not want to cause such irreversible damage to the bells. Our five oldest bells are listed for preservation by the Council for the Care of Churches and they would be very unlikely to agree to such drastic action.

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