(Please note that the image used in the banner is for illustration only and is not a photo of the bells at Belton Church).

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded Belton PCC a grant of over £31,000 to restore and rehang its five church bells, three of which date to the 1500s.

The total cost of the project is £46,500 and grants have also been obtained from the Lincoln Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers and other smaller grant bodies. The PCC is crowd funding for the remaining £2,500 required*.

Alongside the restoration of the bells, the funding will enable the church to take the opportunity to enhance its visitor experience by installing an internal private broadband system that will allow visitors to virtually gain information on their own mobile phones as they tour the church.

Belton, as the name may suggest, appears to have had a long association with bell ringers and Belton is often taken to mean town (or settlement) of bells. The Octagonal stone font which dates to the Norman period Font has one panel carved depicting a man tolling two bells.

The bells were last lowered from the tower and rehung in a new oak frame in 1872 and this is still in good order and will be reused. Other timber restoration work will be carried out by local volunteers to bring the tower back to order.

A national specialist team will be carrying out the restoration with support from the bell ringing team at the church who will assist in the lowering and rehanging process and also the transport of the bells. 

The Belton Band of Bell Ringers, all who have only learnt to ring in the last two years are keen not only to enhance their own skills and knowledge but also to assist in increasing the understanding of campanology, bells and their heritage. They very much hope to sustain this knowledge by assisting in the training of other new and young ringers and by holding heritage and tower visits to the newly restored bells.

Tower Captain Michael Coney said: “After 18 months of planning and working to attain the necessary funding and a year with only limited ringing because of Covid-19 we are extremely excited to know that the bells will be lowered shortly and should be back in full working order before the end of the year. We are hugely thankful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the other partner grant bodies for the support which they are giving to this project.”

* If you are able to help please donate at their page on the JustGiving website.

A snapshot of the history of the bells can be found on the church website.

This item was published on Wednesday 12th May 2021.