The return of the Bells

Tenor Bell Piddinghoe Church

Ring in the New! The return of the Bells to St John the Evangelist Church, Piddinghoe

We are delighted to be celebrating the restoration, return, naming and blessing of our historic church bells on the 23rd April with The Rt Reverend Will Hazlewood, the Bishop of Lewes.

This has all been made possible by the fantastic support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, The Keltek Trust, SCBRF (Sussex Churches Bell Restoration Fund), a passionate donor and the local community of Piddinghoe and beyond.

The bells left the Village in November, where they have hung since 1713.

Blythe and Co Church Bell Specialists

After six months of expert work on the original three bells, undertaken by bell specialists Blyth & Co of Newark, they will be joined by three treble bells donated by the Keltek Trust.

Four of the six bells
Lorry and tenor bell

The Bells return to Piddinghoe

With the Bells’ return this week, work will begin on the belfry of St John’s historic round tower (only three of which exist in the South of England).  The three larger bells will be re-hung on their original frames, supported by steel.  The three donated treble bells will be hung above.  Full change ringing will return to our church.

On Sunday 23rd April each bell will be ‘christened’ and blessed by The Rt Reverend Will Hazlewood, the Bishop of Lewes, before they are hoisted to their refurbished home where they will ring out across the valley again.

Brigid Simmonds OBE, funding co-ordinator and Secretary to the PCC said:

“It is a huge achievement and we give thanks to so many people and organisations who have been involved.  We are, as ever, grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for supporting this unusual, imaginative and inclusive project. 

Listen to more on BBC Sussex interview with Brigid.

Oral history and exhibition

“While the bells were away, we have trained students from Seahaven Academy Newhaven in the skills and techniques of oral history. Students interviewed a great range of local people about the significance of the church, its bells and village life ready for publication and an exhibition in the summer. We are teaching children from Harbour Primary school the ancient skill of handbell ringing, ready to join the wonderful Tide Mills Choir with a newly commissioned piece of music by composer and singer Chris Moore (VOCES8) to be premiered in July.

Documenting the Bells’ historic journey

Finally, in the Autumn there will be a documentary sharing the historic journey we have all undertaken. A great deal to look forward to and celebrate!”

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