Ancient church unveils scheme to install 10 bells

Rev Canon Paul Scott standing in front of the bell tower of St Michael's Church in the background.
Rev Canon Paul Scott standing in front of the bell tower of St Michael's Church in the background.

An exciting project to install 10 bells at a historic church has been unveiled and the public is being encouraged to support the scheme.

The peal would take pride of place at St Michael’s Church, in Alnwick, in an initiative described as leaving a lasting and long-term legacy.

The church has never possessed a full peal of bells. The tower currently houses three bells: two of them mediaeval and unringable and one from the 18th century which, while still in use, is quite severely damaged.

As part of the Tower Project, a number of repairs will be carried out on the tower roof – last replaced in 1746 – as well as other work in order to house the ten bells.

The proposal is to receive six of these from the church of St James, Newton Hall, near Corbridge, where a replacement peal is being installed.

The plan is for these six to be refurbished and then passed on to St Michael’s. The idea is then to add a further four new bells to establish a ring of ten. The only other ring of ten in Northumberland is at Hexham Abbey.

The project has been given momentum by Northumbrian entrepreneur, Jim Crowther, who is a lifelong bellringer, while the Keltek Trust, which looks to preserve and maintain bells, has offered to help.

It is also hoped that individuals and groups might like to sponsor a bell, either individually or together: such an action would be a lasting contribution as the inscriptions can never be removed. Three donations have already been made.

St Michael’s vicar, Rev Canon Paul Scott, said “We are being given an exciting opportunity to make our own contribution to the fabric of St Michael’s with the provision of a peal of 10 bells.

“This could be a lasting and long-term legacy from our generation, bringing a new and exciting aspect to church and town life, not only in our own time, but also for many years to come.”

He said that the project received a favourable response at a meeting held earlier this month to discuss the plans.