Memories chime at village museum

February 28 2016

The bells of Frenchay Church is the topic of the latest exhibition at Frenchay Village museum.

Frenchay Church

The bells of Frenchay Church is the topic of the latest exhibition at Frenchay Village museum.
The bells were installed by parishioners and friends in an ambitious DIY project that lasted several years, culminating with their dedication by the Bishop of Bristol 25 years ago.  This was the first new ring of bells in the Diocese of Bristol since 1932, so it was a significant achievement.
The display shows how a dozen long disused bells were rescued from sources as unlikely as a church in Byker, Newcastle on Tyne, and a local hospital. Many local firms supported the project, including Steelstock of Yate, who donated all the steel beams needed to make the bellframe, Burcombe Crane Hire who rescued four bells from a very high tower, and A F Drew of Frampton Cotterell who provided welding expertise and transport.
Three of the rescued bells were found new homes, one to the new church of Christ the King, Bradley Stoke, one to a church in Uganda, and another to St Luke’s,  Barton Hill, which had its bell stolen!
Four of the rescued bells were tuned, and two new ones cast from metal donated by the remainder, by John Taylor’s Bellfoundry in Loughborough. However, the bulk of the work in the tower of the church was carried out by volunteers from the parish and supporters from the wider community.
Today the bells are rung for services each Sunday, and for weddings and the occasional funeral.  The ringers practice from 7.30 until 9pm on Monday evenings (not 2nd of the month) and always welcome visitors interested in finding out more about this ancient English art.
The museum is at the junction of Begbrook Park and Frenchay Park Road, just inside Entrance “B” of the hospital. It’s open on Saturday and Sundays from 2-5pm, and Wednesday from 1-4pm. Entry is free.