An unforeseen problem with the casting of our new treble (top) bell means we have had to set back the date when we expect the restoration to be complete. Therefore, we have postponed the planned bells rededication service due to take place on Friday November 23rd.
In the casting of any bell there is always a chance that the result is not perfect. The Royal Eijsbouts Foundry near Eindhoven in Holland was tasked with making three replacement bells for us. The casting was carried out at the end of August, and two of the bells – the second and tenor (bottom), came out well. Earlier today, the foundry recast the treble (see photo) and later this week it will be on its way to Bridport, in Dorset, home of Nicholson Engineering, our appointed bell hangers.
Meanwhile, the repairing, cleaning and recoating of our bell frame and all the bell hammers is nearly complete. Once the full set of bells is available Nicholson’s will put the frame together in the works, hang the bells, and stress test the frame to ensure that it no longer wobbles. Then the carillon and clock hammers will be refitted.
The fortnight’s delay at the foundry has unfortunately had implications for the overall schedule. Nicholson Engineering was aiming to return the bells to Newnham on October 15th. But having run behind schedule, we now find ourselves competing with other work to which the firm is committed. We have been warned that it may be the middle of November before the bells and frame return. This is four weeks later than was planned and would take the finish date to the middle of December. Given the proximity to Christmas, the Bells Restoration Committee anticipates that the rededication service may now need to take place in the New Year.
In our last blog we said that we would combine the bells rededication with a celebration of 1000 years of the ecclesiastical parish of Newnham which received its first priest in 1018. Although the two can no longer be combined, we still hope to press ahead with a service to mark that millennium this year led by Bishop Robert of Tewkesbury, on Friday November 23rd.