The naughty CCC, etc.

Susan Dalton at v...
Sat Apr 3 15:38:23 BST 2004

Having now read and enjoyed contributions from others about the CCC and its
listing criteria (how I wish I could get away with saying the sort of things
AWRW does: I love it!) I just wanted to endorse what CJP has said about
supporting our two main [sic] bellfoundries. I can well see how threatened
they must feel but there really are a whole lot of factors here, including
the health and finances of the Church of England generally, and I suggest
that the CCC's lists - and even its Code of Practice now with the
wrong-way-up bells on the cover - are probably the least significant of

CJP has already referred to the Keltek Trust and the impact on the casting
of new bells which the current trend for recycling must have. Personally I
support this kind of activity in the great majority of cases and admire what
David Kelly has achieved, and I think it is greatly to the credit of the two
foundries that they support it too. Of course, relocation is one way in
which listed bells can be preserved without spoiling the sound of a new or
restored ring.

Another factor which diminishes opportunity for casting new bells is of
course welding. Again, I believe Soundweld has done marvellous work in
repairing worthwhile bells for continued use. But I emphasise the word
'worthwhile'. Was it really such a good idea, for instance, to weld the two
out of five bells which were badly cracked in the very poor (and unlisted!)
ring at English Bicknor? Let's face it, the first Abraham Rudhall, highly
successful as he may have been commercially, was a most indifferent founder
both in casting quality and in bell shape and tone/tuning (anyone heard
Holme Lacy?) and there are still an awful [sic] lot of his bells around.
The second Abraham Rudhall, I hasten to add, was in a different league
altogether, as was the aptly-named Abel. English Bicknor could have had a
decent new ring: the thing worth saving there was not the bells but the
splendidly massive, largely medieval, frame.

A third and I believe more worrying factor is of course dear old EH, which
seems often to make its own rules (and change them) as it goes along - or at
least its officers do - without necessarily being guided by the CCC lists
and Code of Practice or by anything or anybody else.

But isn't the main factor in the commissioning of new bells really the aims
(and determination) of the customer? The dead hand of preservation didn't
stop new twelves being cast for South Petherton and Kidderminster, new tens
at Chilcompton and Dorking, new light eights at Marston Bigot and Milton,
and so on. Kettering and Writtle, too. I do believe the foundries can take
heart from all this activity, though I realise that it spans a number of
years. And there has been plenty of rehanging and retuning too. Do let us
try to be a bit positive and optimistic.


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