Towers and Belfries Committee Report 2014

The committee met once in 2014 and generally it has proved a quiet year.

Whilst a couple of work afternoons doing maintenance took place – sadly only a few of the committee have been involved. The towers visited were all those where we have worked in the past and are generally in good order with no major work needed. Oxhill remains the exception where the local PCC have failed to take advantage of the scaffolding and work on the roof to carry out bird protection so the bells are covered in an unhealthy mess and not rung as a result. The Rural Dean, local Ringers and PCC are I believe finally addressing the issue. We must watch this space and hope that finally action will be taken before it is too late.

Fenny Compton were inspected and some work done – they are now in reasonable order but the frame needs painting. The local churchwarden was given a suggestion as to how this may be accomplished at minimal cost but has failed to act and the opportunity may be lost. You can lead a horse to water….

At Clifford Chambers we were asked to inspect and advise as the local captain could no longer maintain the bells. Basically they are in good order although a little work was done. However recent work on the tower included moving a trapdoor and erecting a platform over the frame of the back 5 (the treble is on top). As a result it is very difficult to move around to maintain the bells, it is dark as the light is now above the platform and the treble is very quiet in the ringing chamber. Also hoops, erected supposedly for safety reasons around a vertical ladder, are within 3 ‘’ of the second rope presenting a safety hazard to tall or inexperienced ringers. All this could well have been done without a faculty. Having a maintenance contract with a bell hanger was recommended – if you have to struggle around to maintain the bells you may as well get paid!!!

I would like to thank all those on the committee who have assisted with work over the last year. Looking forward to 2015 the Leek Wootton project should be complete, and possibly Newbold Pacey. Pillerton Hersey should be actively fund-raising and there are several other smaller projects of improvement or sound control mooted.

Graham Nabb – TAB Committee Chair