St Leonards church bells back after restoration

L-R: Katy Harper (Church Warden), Mike Copper, Father David Hill and Clare Cooper (Press Officer for the church).
L-R: Katy Harper (Church Warden), Mike Copper, Father David Hill and Clare Cooper (Press Officer for the church).

The four St Leonards church bells have been hoisted back into position after a 340-mile round trip to be restored today (Tuesday, October 13).

Essential repairs could not be carried out in the St John the Evangelist church tower so the bells were dismantled, lowered to the ground and transported to Nicholson’s Bell Works in Bridport, Dorset.

Church bells of St John's, Pevensey Road, St Leonards, being hoisted back into the church. SUS-151013-135634001

Church bells of St John's, Pevensey Road, St Leonards, being hoisted back into the church. SUS-151013-135634001

The bells were repaired and cleaned, rusty bell fixings were replaced and new chiming hammers made.

Father David Hill said it was ‘good to have them back’.

“What was lovely was the number of people who stopped and said they were pleased to see them back and that they love the sound of the bells,” he said.

“So it’s clearly important as a community to have them back.

Church bells of St John's, Pevensey Road, St Leonards, being hoisted back into the church. SUS-151013-135623001

Church bells of St John's, Pevensey Road, St Leonards, being hoisted back into the church. SUS-151013-135623001

“We’re delighted with Nicholson’s, they were lovely to deal with.

“I wasn’t here when they were taken down but the people who were said the difference between then and now is amazing.”

The four richly ornamented bells are a rare example in England by the French bellfounder Paccard, and are the only ones in Sussex.

They were cast in 1891 at Annecy in Haute Savoie and were hung in the continental style.

Church bells of St John's, Pevensey Road, St Leonards, being hoisted back into the church. SUS-151013-135657001

Church bells of St John's, Pevensey Road, St Leonards, being hoisted back into the church. SUS-151013-135657001

Each bell is named after a member of the family of Samuel Gibbs who lived nearby and donated them to the church.

The largest bell is Sam at 850 kg.

His wife’s name Adela is given to the next largest (450 kg), then daughter Florence (250 kg) and grandson Delano for the smallest bell at 110 kg.

Further work is not anticipated for another one hundred years.

Church bells of St John's, Pevensey Road, St Leonards, being hoisted back into the church. SUS-151013-135645001

Church bells of St John's, Pevensey Road, St Leonards, being hoisted back into the church. SUS-151013-135645001

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