[Bell Historians] recovered church bell

Chris Pickford c.j.pickford.t21 at h6KbsW6dHnsaneHrBYffGiNuPDXWc3-Kp54PEveXwlVIndBFDAYTNva21shAOYicGFgB2f3QH6lZdnr3vPfoukoyALy8RHgCsw.yahoo.invalid
Wed Apr 6 09:14:23 BST 2011

The case I mentioned, if correctly reported, really doesn't reflect at all well on Police powers of observation and detection. The notice actually says:

Above the central branch of the E, which forms the main staircase of the new wing, a belfry was added whose bell carried the elaborately moulded inscription: CHARLES STANFORD ESQUIRE - ELENOR - 1610.  Elenor was John Alderford's daughter, who brought the Hall for her husband, Charles Stanford on Alderford's death in 1606. The dating of the bell in 1610 possibly marked the completion of the new wing begun in 1602. For nearly 4 centuries the bell hung in its belfry undisturbed. But the old Hall fell on hard times. The Stanfords died out, and their family home was left unoccupied and largely deserted. In the 1980s squatters, gypsies and thieves stripped the building of everything remaining of value, and the last act of vandalism was the theft of the bell itself in June 1987. In July 1987 Charter Hotels Ltd, a family company spent two years restoring the Hall to its former beauty and grace. The forlorn empty belfry was given a new brass bell, filling the void but without the history of romance of the original. Then in 1989, when the renovated building was opened as a hotel, the story of the old bell took a strange twist. A neighbour reported that it had been sold by auction in Stratford, offered for sale not by the thief, but by the Police! It appeared the thief had been caught quickly. but the Police had been unable to link the bell, which they found among his assorted loot. The neighbour had immediately recognised the bell and its message, but the Police claimed they had not even noticed it carried one. Charter Hotels traced the bells purchaser, bought it back, and restored it to its ancestral home. It now has a proud place in the reception lounge, where guests can admire its striking inscription and reflect on its romantic history.

Peter is right, and the Heritage Protection team can't be experts at everything - but we might hope they make use of any clues that are available. Unless part of the plan is to sell off unclaimed stuff to pay for the scheme!

Cynical? Yes, I'm afraid so

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