Alnwick church launches funding appeal to turn £300,000 renovation project into reality

An appeal has been made for public support for a £300,000 project to renovate an historic Alnwick church and install a ring of 10 bells.

Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 4:45 pm

The Tower Project at St Michael’s Church was launched two years ago and now has all the necessary permissions to proceed.

The main part of the project is the installation of a ring of ten bells; six of them refurbished having previously been in the tower of St. James’ Church, Newton Hall, near Corbridge, alongside an additional four which will be specially cast for St. Michael’s.

Rev Canon Paul Scott, Vicar of Alnwick, said: “The only other ring of ten bells in Northumberland is at Hexham Abbey and so this is a really exciting project which will ensure that our county town has a facility for celebrating historic and civic events as well as ringing out for weddings and other celebrations and, of course, for regular church services.”

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

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

The church is now asking local residents to get actively involved in making the scheme a reality.

Rev Canon Scott said: “The good news is that seven of the ten bells have already been sponsored: all four of the new bells and three of those to be refurbished.

"Of the remaining three, two have been set aside with dedications reading ‘Ring out for Alnwick’ and ‘Ring afresh for St. Michael’. One further bell remains to be sponsored.

Rev Canon Paul Scott at St Michael's Church in Alnwick.

"It is hoped that the Alnwick bell will be funded by organisations and individuals from within the town or associated with Alnwick and already a generous donation has been promised by the Freemen of Alnwick.

“All those who feel a connection with St. Michael’s Church, whether currently or in the past, are being invited to make a contribution towards the St. Michael bell and some generous support has already been given.”

The final refurbished bell, which will cost £8,000, could be sponsored by an individual, a group of people or an organisation and the church is appealing for interested parties to get in touch.

Work will be starting on the casting of the new bells very soon and it is the ambitious hope that the bells may ring out for the first time on St. Michael’s Day, September 29, 2021.

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.

The project also includes a new roof for the ancient tower which was last replaced 274 years ago in 1746 and the preservation and display of interesting graffiti – some of which is considered to be quite rare and of national importance.

The Duchess of Northumberland has kindly agreed to be patron of the project.

To contribute to the project call 01665 603078 or email [email protected].

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Ancient church unveils scheme to install 10 bells

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