Hanley Stoke on Trent
John H Allen
john at MkatK-NZvFq7v9mCEpxi4pl2MmqSFW5kS1SXu-iraetCfY13ETU6oO4K6CNyyqDgtT7Ih3W3iNsKIXhe.yahoo.invalid
Tue May 19 15:55:10 BST 2009
A copy of the Press Release dated today.
From: Gavin Drake [mailto:gavin.drake at eBohwsD3TUmRDpWIvLu1tLxZGFok-Yq1CUtPH8mpGY-v00PZ2FwU4DmSQS9JVcEcZB_CMj8MzqIAl_LWUjI6SaxdXVKA_UZR.yahoo.invalid]
Sent: 19 May 2009 09:49
To: Tim Pain
Subject: PRESS RELEASE: Bells to ring out after decades of silence
Bells to ring out after decades of silence
An historic set of church bells which have languished silently in a
dilapidated redundant church in Hanley, Stoke on Trent, for the past 20
years are to ring out again. The ring of 10 bells at the closed St Johns
Church, one of only 237 rings of 10 bells in England, and 273 worldwide, are
to be moved to St Michael and St Wulfads Church at Stone, near Stafford.
The plans have been approved by the Church Commissioners and the Bishop of
Lichfield but now need a faculty - legal permission from the Consistory
Court - to install them at Stone; and Listed Building Consent from Stoke on
Trent City Council, to remove them from Hanley.
St Johns Church has lain empty since 1988 and its future was looking bleak
until the Church Converts partnership came forward last year with plans to
turn the Grade II* listed building into a restaurant. Contracts for the
sale of the building were exchanged yesterday.
The Revd Ian Cardinal, Rector of Stone with Aston, described the successful
outcome as good news, not just for the Church, but for the whole town,
adding: I am thrilled to know that this wonderful ring of bells will peal
once again and I look forward to hearing them call the people to celebrate
the completion of the project in a few years time. In the meantime we call
upon everyone to join us in putting their best efforts into converting the
scheme into a reality and hope for practical and generous help from many
The Revd Richard Grigson combines his role as Vicar of Smallthorne, Stoke on
Trent, with responsibility for securing new uses for closed churches
throughout the Diocese of Lichfield; and was responsible for securing the
future of the bells. He said: The future of these bells has been much
discussed within the ringing world. They are a very fine ring of ten, and
we wanted to ensure that they would be kept together.
We particularly wanted to ensure that the bells would once again be rung to
call people to worship. In the course of our discussions we received
expressions of interest from a number of churches, some local and some not
We also needed to remember that some of the bells formed a war memorial to
former Hanley parishioners. It would have been inappropriate to remove this
memorial any further than was necessary.
He added: The diocese did not propose to sell the bells to the highest
bidder, so our decision was not driven by finances. We did, however, want
to ensure that the finances were in place to re-hang the bells. After 20
years of languishing unheard in the tower of Saint John's, we did not want
the bells to be taken down simply to be put in store.
In giving the bells to Stone PCC we had to disappoint others who wanted to
give the bells a good home. We hope that even those ringers who are
disappointed not to have the Hanley bells in 'their' tower will rejoice that
this very fine ring will once again be heard.
The news that the bells have been saved and are to be re-hung has been
welcomed by the bell ringing community. Frank Beech, Chairman of the North
Staffordshire Association of Change Ringers and Steeple Keeper at Stone,
commented: The NSACR is very pleased that Hanley bells are to be released
for re-housing. It has been the association's ambition for many years to
have these bells ringing again in a tower that will welcome bell ringers of
St Michael and St Wulfads Church need to secure an addition £25,000 to fund
the re-hanging of the bells in their tower.
10 Church bell facts
provided for Lichfield Diocese by the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers
* There are only eight rings of 10 bells in Staffordshire. In
addition to Hanley, the others can also be found at Burton-on-Trent,
Cannock, Leek, Lichfield, Stafford, Stoke Minster, and Tamworth. Throughout
the rest of Lichfield Diocese, the only other rings of 10 are at Wednesbury
* Hanley, Wednesbury and Willenhall are three of only 15 rings of 10
bells cast at the Croydon-based bell foundry of Gillett & Johnston; others
include rings at Manchester and Rochester Cathedrals.
* Most church towers with bells in urban areas or villages are rings
of five or six bells.
* Rings of 10 and 12 bells are more usually found in large towns and
cities often in Cathedrals.
* There are only a handful of rings of 12 bells by Gillett and
Johnston. In addition to Wolverhampton, these can be found in Birmingham
and Coventry Cathedrals.
* The Church of St James the Great at Audley in Staffordshire, has a
ring of eight bells cast by Gillett and Johnston.
* There are 237 rings of ten bells in England, seven in Wales, four in
Scotland and seven in Ireland. There are only 273 world-wide.
* In Lichfield Diocese there are 198 rings of three or more bells; of
which 183 are described as ringable.
* The world total of rings of bells is 7100, of which 6123 are
* There are 623 rings of five bells, 2889 rings of six, 1869 rings of
eight, 273 rings of ten and 130 rings of 12 or more.
For further information, contact Gavin Drake on 01543 425425
Diocesan Director of Communications: Mr Gavin Drake MCIJ MCIPR
St Saviours House, High Mount Street, Hednesford, Cannock, Staffordshire,
Tel: 01543 425425 Fax: 01543 425589 Email:
gavin.drake at eBohwsD3TUmRDpWIvLu1tLxZGFok-Yq1CUtPH8mpGY-v00PZ2FwU4DmSQS9JVcEcZB_CMj8MzqIAl_LWUjI6SaxdXVKA_UZR.yahoo.invalid
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