[Bell Historians] Stratfield Saye

pag.watts at btinternet.com pag.watts at btinternet.com
Wed Jan 4 00:47:54 GMT 2023

Dear All


There have been a couple of test rings by invited bands on these bells in the past twenty years, at least one in the presence of the then Diocesan Bells Advisor.  Another test ring was conducted within the past five years.  In each case the ringing demonstrated very clearly that the timber bell frame/foundation timbers which sit inside a dome atop the short central tower, and which also support the ringing chamber, are not physically attached to any part of the fabric, and lack adequate tie bolts internally to the structures.  


As a consequence, the whole installation moves alarmingly, and dangerously to the fabric when the bells are rung.  Hence no other ringing is permitted.


The full circle fittings and bell gear have reached the end of their working lives, and the whole installation needs tying down to some new steels embedded in the tower walls, to give the structure support and stability and to tie it to the fabric, and the bells need rehanging on all new gear.  Probably the frame is repairable, though the merits of doing that compared to a replacement frame, would form part of a full appraisal for a restoration scheme.


My bell advisor colleague (Adam Greenley) and I had intended to make a full inspection on behalf of the Parish, but this was postponed due to the Covid pandemic, and for various reasons has not yet happened.  Meanwhile, I understand that Ian Roulstone, who is tower captain at Silchester in the same benefice/group of parishes, and whose bells were rehung by Whites fairly recently, is now working with the Parish on the feasibility of a full restoration.  As is often the case with small rural parishes, the issue of funds, costs and mission priorities are major considerations.


If Ian is a member of this List, he may be able to add further information.




Phil Watts

Bells Advisor, Winchester Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches

Tel: 023 8025 2015           E-mail:   <mailto:pag.watts at btinternet.com> pag.watts at btinternet.com





From: Bell-historians <bell-historians-bounces at lists.ringingworld.co.uk> On Behalf Of Tim Jackson
Sent: 03 January 2023 21:05
To: 'Bell Historians' <bell-historians at lists.ringingworld.co.uk>
Subject: Re: [Bell Historians] stratfield saye


Stratfield Saye were open on the Basingstoke District Open Day 11/Nov/1978.  It was my first tower on my first ever open day.


They were, I believe, also open on a subsequent open day, probably the one held on 12/Jun/1982.





From: Bell-historians [mailto:bell-historians-bounces at lists.ringingworld.co.uk] On Behalf Of Neil Skelton via Bell-historians
Sent: 03 January 2023 15:35
To: Bell Historians
Cc: Neil Skelton
Subject: Re: [Bell Historians] stratfield saye

I rang on these bells in August 1975 and during a long and hot summer. I think even then they were rarely rung, however, one of our number managed to secure permission to ascend the tower from the  sexton who rejoiced in the name of Mr Heaven! The bells, fittings and frame looked ringable but on ringing up, the frame began to move to the point whereby it was transferred to the the whole of the internal timber structure, including the ringing chamber floor which was above the crossing of the church. We did manage two or three touches of Doubles until one of our number came up and said that the chandelier suspended beneath the floor was moving about alarmingly. At that point we decided to call it a day. I am not aware of any ringing which has taken place on these bells since our visit though I daresay there has been! 




Neil Skelton 

On 03/01/2023 15:16 oliver Lee via Bell-historians <bell-historians at lists.ringingworld.co.uk <mailto:bell-historians at lists.ringingworld.co.uk> > wrote: 



Recently, I have been doing some digging about the unringable ring of five here, according to older copies of the ringing world it would seem that the bells where ringable up until the mid 1980s (if not later) but they appear to have been  condemned at some point prior to 2003. It would also be interesting to know how regularly they where rung as well as any other information about their go and what the ringing chamber looked like, as far is I know not much has really been written about them.

Many thanks

Oliver lee



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