Stolen bells

LOVE, Dickon DrLove at s...
Fri Feb 20 10:02:37 GMT 2004

The publicity surrounding Edvin Loach highlights an issue that has crossed
my path several times, and that is security for bells. The theft of bells
from a belfry is, according to my experience, pretty rare. But the theft of
bells that were otherwise on display or in storage is a bit more common. How
many times have I heard an incumbant say "oh, nobody can steal that bell, it
is far too heavy". It seems none of them realise the ease with which a bell
on the ground can be easily smashed with a hammer and then the pieces carted
off and sold for scrap.

There is a prereformation bell on display in Kent that I am trying to
persuade the authorities to 'make safe'. A list of instances where bells
have been stolen would be quite useful, together with a list of instances
where specific measures have been taken to safeguard bells.

To kick off:

** a couple of years after we left Scotter, Lincs (my Dad was Rector), the 4
prereformation bells were removed from the tower and stored in the Rectory
garage pending restoration. The church was astonished when the discovered
they were stolen a short while later.

** I believe when the complete 5 Hodson bells were returned to Godmersham
pending hanging, parishioners took shifts guarding them in the church over
24 or 48 hours.

** Thieves were disturbed trying to steal the 3 bells from Milstead, Kent
about 10 years ago.

** Likewise, thieves were disturbed trying to steal the 4 bells from
Bicknor, Kent in c.1990 (part of the same benefice as Milstead). Amusingly
they picked the wrong target as these are steel bells and therefore of
minimal scrap value!!

Any more?



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