Documentary film charts restoration of church bells

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: THE BELLS TOLL: From left, Chideock churchwarden Val Cowell, Dave Symonds, captain of the bell tower at St Giles in Chideock, Mark Symonds, captain of the bell tower at St Candida and Holy Cross, and Hilary Joyce, Whitchurch Canonicorum churchwarden THE BELLS TOLL: From left, Chideock churchwarden Val Cowell, Dave Symonds, captain of the bell tower at St Giles in Chideock, Mark Symonds, captain of the bell tower at St Candida and Holy Cross, and Hilary Joyce, Whitchurch Canonicorum churchwarden

THE bellringers of Whitchurch Canonico-rum and Chideock have been busy restoring the bells in the churches of St Candida and Holy Cross, and St Giles.

To prove it they have released a documentary about the restoration work.

The 84-minute film was commissioned by Whitchurch Canonicorum Parochial Church Council and made by Bridport-based Watershed PR and funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

The film features archive footage filmed by villagers of the bells being removed from the towers and rehung alongside new footage filmed over the last year.

Called a Tale of Two Bell Towers, the video tells the story of how both towers rehung their bells and made additions, including a new Jubilee bell at Whitchurch.

The video can be viewed online at ataleoftwobelltowers.org There is also further information about the project and some other, shorter videos made during the course of the project on the website.

The team is now working on a final documentary incorporating further footage to be filmed in the next two months.

The final version will be shown in the two village halls and DVDs distributed to local schools. The tower of St Giles in Chideock contains a belfry with a peal of six bells.

The oldest, cast in 1602, has a freak inscription ‘Love Dog’. It should, of course read ‘Love God’, but the letters were accidentally transposed in the casting.

Another notable bell was cast in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.

This year a new frame was installed and the original five bells rehung to include a sixth relocated from an old church in Shropshire. One of the original bells was found to be cracked, so the villagers had a replacement cast to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

The cracked bell was retained in the tower. The villagers raised a good deal of the money required for the whole works.

The church’s bell ringers spearheaded the appeal for the bells’ refurbishment, which included the casting of the new Jubilee Bell.

St Candida’s is the only church in England to have its saint’s shrine intact.

It was a major pilgrimage centre in medieval times and is the start of the Golden Cap Pilgrimage Trail.

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