For over 1000 years, bells have been ringing in church towers across the country. In pre-facebook days, they not only called people to church, but marked the times of day for workers in the fields, signified danger, and marked joyous occasions for the entire community.
The oldest working bells in the world date from 1450 in St Lawrence Church, Ipswich, but an even older bell, the Shantallow Bell excavated in Derry, Ireland, is thought to have been cast in 1411.
Although Slapton can’t quite compete with either of these, our oldest bell was cast in Drayton Parslow in 1681, and the tower has graffiti carved into the walls by Slapton bell ringers dating from 1634.
The bells are not just for the Church, but lie at the heart of our community. They will continue to peal for church services, weddings, funerals and for important events in the church calendar. The bells, however, will also be rung to celebrate national events like the anniversary of armistice day, royal weddings, or the Queen’s jubilees, and to mark our own personal events such as anniversaries, significant birthdays or in memory of a loved one.
At present, our bell tower and bells are in great need of restoration. A new frame needs to be made, the original oak beams strengthened, the bells need new head stocks and re-tuning; one bell needs to be replaced and a new sixth bell needs to be accommodated in the tower.
To achieve this we need to raise £84,207 So far we raised a massive £27,500 Through village fundraising events, gifts and donations