GERMANSWEEK CHURCH BELLS
A history of Germansweek and the Parish Church would not be complete without including a history of the church bells.
The earliest record is the "Inventory of Church Goods", where the Commissioners reported that there were 3 bells in the tower Of Week
Langford, as we were then known. The next record dates from 1865, when it was reported that the bells were in a bad condition. One of the bells was attributed to The Pennington Foundry, as it displayed the Fleur de Lys Frieze; the second could have been a medieval bell and the third, the only one of the bells in use at that time, was uninscribed.
In 1872, the old bells were taken to Mears and Stainbanks bell founders at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London. This foundry was established in and is still in operation today, It is listed The Guinness Book of Records as being Britain's oldest manufacturing company and has Cast some of the most famous bells, including Big Ben and 'The Liberty Bell, The Germansweek bells were replaced by 5 and mounted on headstocks with full circle wheels, allowing the now familiar sound Of change ringing', ie ringing, Where one bell is rung after another With changing note patterns. The bells themselves are classed as a light set of bells and range in weight from 3CWt to S cwt, made copper and 20% tin, they are housed in the bell chamber and are 35ft above the ringing room, the tower
During the 20th Century, the bells once again fell into a state of disrepair and by the mid could not be rung and required restoration. In 1995, the bell clappers, head stocks, bell Wheels and bell frame were renovated and RSJ’s were placed under the mainframe. The bells were rededicated on Sunday 30th July 1995 by the Very Rev. Frank Curtis and the Vicar, the Rev. Ray Voden_ The restoration work was overseen by Peter Cresswell. A team of Ringers was formed and consisted of Peter and Liz Cresswell, Nigel and Heather Fullbrook and Fran Cashmore.
In 2004, an inspection report revealed the further restoration work and in early 2006 this work began. The five bells were removed the tower and taken to the workshops of Peter Bazeley in Tavistock. Peter Bazeley assisted by a voluntary group of helpers, namely Alan Smithers, Brian Beynon, Tim Donkin, Gordon Jennings, David Corthine. Nigel Fullbrook and Brian Singleton.
During the 2006 restoration, the bells were turned 90 degrees.
They were fitted with African Teak headstocks, self-aligning main bearings and independent crown staples. The removal exposed the need structural repairs to the bell tower floors, the work was finally completed in February 2007 and the bells were declared fit for normal ringing on 26th February 2007.
The rededication service took place on Sunday 28th October 2007, led by
Bishop John Ford and the Reverend Stuart Wilson.