Huntsham - Tower & Bells Project

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2nd May 2004:

On 21 April 2004 a Faculty was issued in the Consistory Court of the Diocese of Exeter authorising the following works to be completed within a period of 12 months:

    1. Relocate clock mechanism in the old ringing chamber
    2. Replace the existing lead flat roof of the tower
    3. Sell two bells and cast two replacement bells; tune the five 19th Century bells and leave the 17th Century bell uncut; the existing seventh bell to become the new tenor
    4. Re-hang all eight bells in a new two tier metal frame located a little lower in the tower than the present one
    5. Install a sound management system
    6. Install hatches in the lower floors to enable the hoisting of the bells for re-hanging
    7. Install electric power and lighting in the tower
    8. Replace the existing ringing gallery floor

Official orders have now been placed with the Whitechapel Bell Foundry for the bell works and with J. B. Joyce, a subsidiary of Smith's of Derby, for the clock works. Re-tendering is in progress for the electrical installation work, the sound management system, the lead work to the roof and the means of lifting the bells out of the tower. The timber work is being undertaken by volunteers.

The volunteers have now removed stays and wheels from all eight bells, clappers from most bells, and have prepared all bells so that they are ready to lift out through the hatchway in the tower roof. Tie rods and bolts are being freed up and/or removed ready for the bell frame to be removed once the bells are sent to the foundry.

The Exeter Diocesan Advisory Committee issued a number of provisos as conditions associated with their Certificate. Of these provisos two have been of concern to us. First, the DAC asked us to consider not only galvanising beams and frame, as we have specified, but also painting the galvanised members as well. This did not seem sensible to us. Secondly, we were also asked to consider alternative methods of building-in the beam ends; either in stonework bedded in hydraulic lime mortar or bolted down to concrete beams with the ends build-in to stonework bedded in lime mortar. We really did not like either of these options. So we were really pleased that after much discussion the Chancellor ruled in our favour and the Faculty allows us to proceed according to our original specification if we so wish. This we propose to do.

Update: 6th May 2004

We have passed the £50,000 mark with our fund raising.

Orders have been placed with


Whitechapel Bell Foundry

Bell works


J.B. Joyce & Co.

Clock works


Sound Solutions

Sound control system


MRJ Electrical

Electrical works

Huntsham bells before removal

Our volunteers have now started preparing for the removal of the bells and the frame. We anticipate that the bells will be lifted out through the tower roof by mobile crane on Friday 28th May and will then be transported to London to start the process of re-modelling and restoration.

We will begin stripping out the bell frame immediately the bells are out of the tower.


The 1663 (that's over 340 years old!) Pennington bell is in the foreground on both photographs.

The Pennington bell at Hunsham

See our Project Gallery of photos.


P.S. Anybody who would like to join the band of volunteers should contact Michael Hatchett on 01398 331843

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