Barnham Broom bell restoration project to receive £28k of heritage lottery funding

A Barnham Broom heritage group have received more than £28,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the restoration of five medieval church bells.

The bells, at the Church of St Peter & St Paul, Barnham Broom, have not been rung for 40 years.

And a group of local fundraisers are hoping to restore them in time to ring on the centenary of the armistice of the First World War.

The HLF grant, of £28,200 will help to bring the historic bells back into the life of the Barnham Broom community, as they ring out once more on Sunday, November 11, 2018.

The church housing the bells is more than 700 years old, and is home to two listed 15th century bells. There are three further bells which were hung between 1707 and 1893.

And, surprisingly, none of the five bells have ever been tuned.

Hartley Booth, chairman of the restoration appeal said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the National Lottery via the Heritage Lottery Fund which will allow us to complete the restoration of our bells.

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“Our project is acting as a catalyst in bringing the community together and will leave a legacy for future generations.”

And Robyn Llewellyn, head of HLF East of England, said: “The bells of St Peter & St Paul are unusual, not only due to their age, but also because they have never been tuned.”

He added: “I’m delighted that money raised by National Lottery players can be used to bring these bells back into use for the first time since the 1970s and involve the community in learning about their history.”

The project aims to recognise the village’s history, and to leave a legacy for future generations. Once restored, the bells will be rung again to mark special occasions in the life of the village, from christenings, weddings, and funerals, to festivals.

This campaign has also spurred members of the community of all ages to take up the art of bell ringing, and to research the church’s history.

CCTV camera technology has been introduced to the bell chamber which will allow everyone to see how the newly restored bells are rung.

The history of the church bells will be shared in a pageant to be held in 2018.

More information can be found at the project’s website.