[Bell Historians]

John H Allen john at KNL-aU8CNqUyDEE-7Ob3IuAvolEfrhcVm8nzxfDAXagwjPtp8jsjHL3JTWN6L1eyH8HDAqwd-KP3SQ.yahoo.invalid
Thu Oct 22 21:09:23 BST 2009

Presumably the same 'experts' who think that the frame at Malvern can be




From: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com [mailto:bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com]
On Behalf Of Anne Willis
Sent: Thursday 22 October 2009 20:40
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com
Subject: RE: [Bell Historians]




  >My memory may be entirely wrong but do I recall SPAB's involvement with
the plan to restore the unringable 5 at Horton Gloucestershire?





Yes; it was mentioned in the Spring issue of their magazine 'Cornerstone',
but unfortunately you don't seem to be able to see the article on-line.  I
wrote to the author of the report, Matthew Slocombe, who pointed out that
the 'decision had not been made lightly' and that EH and the Council for
Care of Churches had not liked the idea of replacing the frame either.  He
pointed out that '[SPAB] ha access to specialists with considerable
knowledge and experience of timber bellframes and have given advice on the
sensitive and successful repair of a number of historic timber bellframes
[unspecified] in the past.'


The letter continued:


'While we understand and welcome the enthusiasm with which bellringers wish
to promote and encourage the tradition of full circle ringing, we are often
disappointed that this does not include an appreciation of the heritage of
bell frames and their development.  We entirely agree that it is important
to ensure that full circle ringing continues, but at the same time we must
balance this with the need to conserve important and irreplaceable
artefacts.  If we continue to replace historic timber bellframes with new
bellframes we will eventually reach the point where only a handful or less
remain in their original locations.  This would be a terrible loss and is
the reason why the SPAB feels that it has a responsibility to encourage
communities to value and preserve these important objects and retain them in
use, or at least in the tower, wherever possible.'


'We find it difficult to agree with the view that it is preferable to study
a historic timber bellframe in a situation where it is divorced from its
setting, whether that location is a nearby barn [as at Horton] or museum.
Removing a historic bellframe from its context results in a loss of a
substantial degree of its significance, its integrity and its legibility.
[Blow the fact that it will be virtually inaccessible!]  This 'solution'
also places the bellframe at risk due to the removal of any statutory
protection through planning and listed building legislation.  [He then
reminds me 'an extremely regrettable incident' [Stratford-sub-Castle] where
the old frame languished in a shed before illegally being turned into a


He concludes:


 '...we [SPAB] find it very sad that there seems to be little interest in
the tangible heritage of bellringing and very much regret the fact that from
time to time we find ourselves opposing proposals put forward by passionate
bands of bellringers.  We would be delighted to see bellringers taking an
equal pride in the custodianship of historic bells and their bellframes as
well as the ongoing tradition of bellringing itself.  However, as this
rarely happens, the SPAB will continue to encourage the careful repair of
such bellframes so that future generations may appreciate this important
element of our culture in the same way that they can appreciate the many
ancient buildings that have been saved by thoughtful and sensitive



For various reasons I did not reply to the letter, and the matter rests









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