Historic bells set to chime again

HISTORIC bells will be ringing out across Ipswich later this year - thanks to a �100,000 renovation project.

HISTORIC bells will be ringing out across Ipswich later this year - thanks to a �100,000 renovation project.

The five bells of St Lawrence Church are the oldest set in the world but for more than two decades they have not been properly rung because the booming noise shakes the tower of the Dial Lane church.

Now the bells are set to get a new lease of life at a specialist bell foundry in London and once a new frame is put in the tower over the summer they will be rung again.

John Blatchly, chairman of the Ipswich Historic Churches Trust, said: “People will come from all over England and the world because they are the oldest set of five bells in the world. It makes Ipswich unique.

“They are very mellow and it will be a lovely rich sound when they are rung.

“We have wanted to do it for a long time but it costs a great deal of money - around �100,000 - but it will be fantastic when it is finished.

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“When we have ringers they will be visible because the belfry has a glass screen.”

The bells, dubbed Wolsey's bells because a young Cardinal Wolsey would have heard them in his youth, date from 1450 and 1458.

On Wednesday they will be taken to Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London where they will be cleaned and retuned.

In July the new frame, made of steel and cast iron, rather than wood, will arrive and be installed in the church tower - eight metres lower than the current frame.

Dr Blatchly added: “Currently it is so high and the upper part of the tower is so fragile that it rocks if you try to ring the bells.

“This will bring them down to a level where the tower is sturdy.”

Once the work is complete the Ipswich Historic Churches Trust hopes people will hear the famous bells ringing again by August.

Is there a historic part of Ipswich you would like to see restored? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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