Restoration of the Coddington bells

The old bell frame at CoddingtonIn 1865, the west end of the nave, with its bell cote style tower and wooden cupola containing three bells was demolished, and replaced with the present tower and steeple.  A peal of six bells by founders Taylor of Loughborough was cast, and hung in an oak bell frame.  Over the years penetration through the steeple lights damaged the oak frame, and in 1946 the frame was strengthened with metal braces.  Despite this, the bells have rarely been rung over the last 30 years because of doubt about the safey of the frame.

In 2001, the PCC agreed to raise the money to replace the oak frame with a steel frame, and to retune the bells.  Dennis Savage of Coddington Vineyard formed a small sub-committee consisting of Max Johnson of Old Plaistow, Ledbury, Owen Evans of Stroud Cottage, Coddington, Robert Marsham of Kings Acre, Coddington and Brian Taylor of The Cross, Coddington.  Initially, the steeple was made watertight by the firm of Arcross of Bristol, at a cost of £5,800.  Four bell foundries tendered for the restoration of the bells, and Hayward Mills Associates was chosen with a quotation of £37,000.  This sum was raised in two years, half the money coming from donations and events organised in the village, and the remainder from grants.

Dismantling the old frameDavid Fox, of Railway Terrace, Colwall, a bell ringer at St James, gave enormous support and help throughout the project.  He and John Physick of Cradley dismantled the frame, and removed it and the bells from the tower.  He also organised voluntary labour to assist the bell hanger Andrew Mills, which reduced the Haward Mills bill by £5,000. The work was completed in September 2005.

Dennis Savage admiring the new bellsGrants were received from: The Heritage Lottery Fund, The Hereford Diocesan Guild of Bellringers Bell Restoration Fund, The Central Council of Bell ringers and The Manifold Trust, The Herefordshire Historic Churches Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation, The Foundation for Arts and Sports, The Leche Trust, The Sharpe Trustees, The All Churches Trust Limited and Colwall Bell Fund.