Thu, 22 Oct 2020
The bells in St Mary's Church in June.
The public has a second chance to view the historic bells of St Mary's Church, Hampstead Norreys, this weekend, following works outside the area to restore them to their former glory.
In June, the bells were removed from St Mary's tower and were transported to a foundry for essential repairs, after assessors' advice in 2018 that they should no longer be rung due to their age and condition.
All but one of the bells were cast in the 17th and 18th centuries, and they are regarded as important local heritage items.
Their renovation was a major undertaking, costing around £75,000.
A local committee raised funds towards the effort, principally through contributions from the Heritage Fund, the Englefield Charitable Trust and Greenham Trust.
Before they were taken from Hampstead Norreys, the bells were set out on the floor of the church, to be viewed by residents and friends of the village. The bells had never before been lowered together, so the event was regarded as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for anyone interested in local history and culture.
A group of supporters of the restoration, the Silent Knights, have organised two more viewing days, on Saturday and Sunday, before the bells are returned to the tower. Booking is essential. Social distancing restrictions will be observed, with limited groups permitted access.
On Saturday (October 24), viewers will be welcomed at slots between 10am and 12pm and on Sunday slots will be available between 2pm and 4pm, with a 'bell-blessing' service at 12.15pm.
Two groups of up to four individuals will be allowed in for any given time slot.
Face coverings must be worn.
All enquiries and bookings to firstname.lastname@example.org