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St Thomas Church Bradwell-on-Sea

Bells Bradwell restoration

Bradwell has 6 bells. 5 of these dates back to 1744 made by Robert Catlin, and are listed by the Church Buildings Council as having historic importance. The sixth bell was installed after the last war and has the inscription THANKS BE TO GOD WHO GIVETH US THE VICTORY 1948.

But the bell frame is for 8 bells and we know 8 were installed in 1744, and were still there in 1818. By 1848 there were only 5, there is no clear record as to where the other 3 went.

We have a strong team of bell ringers of all ages and backgrounds who meet every Friday evening for practice and ring every Sunday for the services. Also many visiting groups came each year to ring our bells.

Our needs are to urgently restore the bells to enable them to be used in the future and to replace the two missing bells to allow the ringers to expand their art and enhance the sound of the bells within the parish

The plan is to bring the present 6 up to present standards – ball bearings, steel headstocks (the short stout beams the bells hang from) rather than elm, modern bearings for the clappers – at present these are on leather straps fitted to a wrought iron bolt through the top of the bell, itself a hazard for the bell, since corrosion can cause expansion and crack the bell. Finally new wheels properly calculated in size and new nylon pulleys for the new ropes.

Because the 8 bell tower has a significant history the church wishes to restore the ring to 8 bells, as they were in 1744, by having 2 new bells cast.

It is essential that the work is done now otherwise there is a danger that further wear in their present positions will cause the bells to crack. During this essential maintenance it is an ideal opportunity replace the two missing bells to an 8 bell ring.

The proposal will cause no harm to the significance outlined in the Statement of significance. The changes proposed are essential maintenance and enhancement of the ring.