[Bell Historians] Preshute - why are all 6 G&J bells listed? (Treble added later.)

Andrew Wilby wilbyawr at gmail.com
Sun Jan 31 13:19:17 GMT 2021

Responding to David Kelly's latest
Whilst I entirely agree with the sentiment I am afraid that getting constitutional change in the CofE's arrangements would be a very difficult.

However, having spent a number of years involved in Local Government Planning Committees I have developed a slightly a different perspective.

Planning Officers and Committees have to make decisions based on democratically adopted lawful policy frameworks, not on opinion or whim. 
It may also surprise people that in these circles that the views of the "Statutory Consultees" such as Historic England may be noted but frequently disregarded in arriving at decisions. Decisions have to be based on lawfully adopted policies - otherwise legal challenge is likely. They are only consultees and hold no veto.

This of course does not apply within the Ecclesiastical Exemption under which we mainly operate. Chancellors have allowed the secular consultees into the process and to have considerable clout. Arguably they should not have done this because it undermines the principle laid down by Parliament that Churches should have their own independent jurisdiction.

There will be pros and cons of course, but you could debate whether or not now we would be better off under the civil system? Is the CofE structure archaic and broken beyond repair?
Note that other churches such as the Romans and Baptists operate under the Ecclesiastical Exemption without the great and costly bureaucracy that we do. It is the CofE power and vested interest structure that is the problem.

Andrew Wilby

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0780 329 5042
On 31/01/2021 09:16:08, Andrew Aspland via Bell-historians <bell-historians at lists.ringingworld.co.uk> wrote:
And I very much agree with Chris!!  "They’re all the same opinion. Never knew such unanimity on a point of law in my life!"

We have some very "valuable" peals of bells out there - as in valued by ringers - very many of which are not listed and many of which would be a tragic loss to our art, and to the soundscape of Britain,  if they were to be less valued by the decision makers.

Listing may well help raise the awareness of the importance of harmonic peals of bells.  It is probably not down to the listing of individual bells but to the sets of harmonic bells - the "complete" peals.  However, the listing process, as it stands, identifies bells of "historic significance" only.  The single criterion for bells cast after 1851 (that amazingly significant date in history - don't get me started on arbitrary dates used in history) is "Significant examples of technical innovation."   Thus, Norton, Sheffield are listed as the first harmonic peal of bells to leave the Loughborough foundry.  No similar examples are listed for the work of G&J or WBF.

Perhaps the ChurchCare listing system is not the right tool for this job.  Is there a case for formalising some sort of Preservation Society?  And to get such a society recognised by Historic England, Church of England etc.

Specifically regarding the works of Gillett & Johnston (since an example that foundry's work began this thread) I would have thought there was a strong case for a society dedicated to their bells.  It is 65 or so years since the last G&J peal of bells was cast and yet their window of casting harmonic bells lasted for fewer than 50 years.   They produced many distinctive and beautiful peals of bells as well as very many chimes and carillons which rank among the best.  Of their 1683 bells hung for ringing only the six bells at Preschute are listed (and they don't fit any listing criteria).  

Anyone out there have a passion for such things?

Attached is something to get us started.




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