Bells restoration

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Bells Restoration, Engagement, Outreach and Legacy – The Bells Project

The current Bells at Piddinghoe have rung out for the last 300 years celebrating the many births, deaths, and marriages of our community. They have rung every Sunday calling people to practise their Christian faith. From graffiti in the bell tower to the impromptu messages on the back of the organ, generations bear testament to an extraordinary relationship between music and faith.

However, this historical harmony was disrupted in 2018 when a strange noise was heard emanating from the bell tower. We discovered the bells were tired and in need of much care and attention. The largest tenor bell was found to be defective. Sadly, none of the bells can safely be rung full circle and only two can be chimed due to the poor condition of the fittings and frame. 

Since this discovery, Piddinghoe Parochial Church Council has worked with a local resident who has extensive experience, and a passion for restoring church bells in London and Sussex. He has generously donated to the restoration in partnership with the National Heritage Lottery Fund  

In 2022 we were delighted to receive funds from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to complete the restoration of our historic bells. You can watch how the story unfolds in the video above.

The work was undertaken by Blyth & Co, church specialists with 70 years of experience with bells. This company re-hung and restored six bells at nearby St Peter’s church in Rodmell, and restored three 15th century bells at nearby Iford.  The work on our bells is now complete but follow the story through our news items and web pages from when they were removed in November 2022 to the late summer celebrations and the Christening of the bells.

Oral history project

As part of this moment in history we collaborated with students from Seahaven Academy and Strike a Light, an oral history organisation to gather intergenerational stories about music and faith in Piddinghoe, Newhaven and beyond. The stories have formed an essential part of the restoration’s digital and physical legacy through a year-long exhibition in the village and beyond. 

Below is a video made early in this process by Latest Newhaven TV.