As some of you may have already noticed, scaffolding work to the church and tower has started. This is a hugely exciting time for the church, it will enable us to crack on with urgent remedial work, including repointing and structural repairs to the tower. We anticipate that the scaffolding will be completed within the next few days.
Be prepared for a very quiet winter over Hatherleigh! For the first time in almost 100 years, our renowned church bells are being taken out of the tower for long overdue restoration work and for replacement of the old oak frame. Removal will be no mean feat, with eight bells to be carefully lowered to the floor, each one weighing hundreds of kilos.
The clock will be removed for servicing before the bells come out, and there are also plans to detach the clock face to access and maintain the stonework behind it. The clock and bells will be removed at some time in mid October. The bells will be away in Somerset for several months while they are restored and the new steel frame is built. Whilst all of this is happening, we will be overseeing the installation of a new floor in the clock room, and a much needed paint job on the clock face itself.
The restoration works to the tower are planned between October and March, with the clock, new frame and bells due to return next year. You can expect to hear the bells ringing again in autumn 2024 after sufficient time has lapsed to allow the repairs to the stonework to settle.
We are planning a Service to celebrate the completion of these works, together with the building adaptations and heritage project next year – keep an eye out for updates.