Why church's bells were removed for over a year ahead of return for Queen's Jubilee

Tap to watch a video report by ITV News Meridian's James Dunham


Eight bells from a church in Sussex will ring out once again having been silenced for over a year.

At more than 130 years old, the bells of All Saints’ Church in Eastbourne were removed for extensive refurbishment work.

They were at risk of becoming out of tune and there were also worries over the safety of using them if works hadn’t taken place. 

The newly restored bells have been given all modern fittings and were blessed at the church’s Sunday service after their return. 

The bells were welcomed back into the church by Reverend James Knowles Credit: ITV Meridian

"I haven't heard them rung here" said Reverend James Knowles who only joined the church last August.

"I'm very much looking forward to seeing the different reaction from people as they come into church as they hear the call of the bells prior to the service.

"Nobody has seen the bells in living time here so it's quite a day for us to see the restoration of these bells before they are hoisted back up the tower.

"It's been a wonderful time to dedicate the bells to today's service of the lord so as they ring out we hope people will hear the call of the bells for them to come and worship."

Coronations and Christmas: how the bells represent significant parts of our history

The eight bells weigh over four tons

The bells have sounded on special and significant occasions in history, from the coronation of King Edward VII and the death of Queen Victoria as well as countless Christmas' and Easters.

In 1927 the tower where the bells are housed managed to be saved as a devastating fire destroyed large parts of the rest of the church. 

The role is taken extremely seriously, at the turn of the 20th century bell ringers followed a strict set of rules.

Ringers were fined six pence for missing a service and three pence if they were late. That’s roughly two and one pound in our money today.

Weighing a collective four tons, it was a challenging task to transport the bells for repair and they almost reached the removal van's load limit.

'Missing a limb'

All Saints Church in Eastbourne Credit: ITV News Meridian

Chief bellringer Pip Pawley says it feels as though the church has been missing a limb without the bells ringing out.

"People have said to me 'we miss the bells, when are they coming back? We're looking forward to having them back'"

"They are all now in the scale of e and they've also been tuned to bring out, for those whoa re musically inclined to bring out the third, the fifth and the seventh.

"We've been promised when they're back we will have the best sounding bells in this area if not in East Sussex."

£75,000 has been pumped into the project which preserves part of the church's history.

The plan is for the bells to ring out once again on the Queen's Platinum Jubilee weekend.