Whilst still maintaining fund-raising activities, our focus has recently turned to technical matters.
Mike Semken from Taylors bellfounders came down to carry out Sway testing this October. Although this is still emerging technology, it has been used to inform other successful rehangs in 'difficult' towers.
The testing involved taking readings at various positions on the frame and floor of the belfry and at different elevations in the tower to measure tower movement for each test piece.
The tests consisted of ringing each bell up in turn individually, ringing combinations of bells to stimulate maximum tower movement, such as ringing all seven bells that swing N – S at the same time. The data analysis should give an indication of the best position to hang the bells in the tower to minimise tower movement and an optimum weight range for the bells.
A technical specification has been prepared and sent to a number of leading British bellfounders to get up to date quotes needed for further grant applications. On the matter of grants, we were thrilled to be awarded a grant from Taunton Deane's unparished fund for when work starts.
A representative of the Church Buildings Council has visited to look at the bells and carillon re heritage aspects. The existing treble bell, a memorial to four St Mary's ringers killed in WW1, was identified of historical interest and bits of an old carillon. We await a full report.
Fund-raising has proceeded apace and we are delighted that some of Taunton's independent traders have agree to support the project. Our latest tower open day of the year resulted in the highest number yet to climb the tower in a day – 166. There were many delighted smiles as both adults and children had a go at chiming a bell and were rewarded with a ding or, in the case of the tenor, bong! There were also some tired legs from the tower escorts who climbed over 2,000 feet in the day – well done Keith and Bob.
We now look forward to polishing up our handbell ringing ready for carols in the town over Christmas.
This year seems to be galloping by astonishingly quickly. Our focus over Spring and early Summer has remained on fund raising and work towards grant applications which, due to the holidays of some of our main players, has proceeded more slowly than we intended.
We have raised a further £2000 through our late Spring fund-raising efforts. The main one was undoubtedly the Somerset Ringing Festival, ably masterminded by Elizabeth Lane, in which over 90 towers were open on a sunny but chilly weekend in April. Saturday finished with visitors welcomed to St Mary's church for tea and to ring on the twelve bells, where they had the opportunity to see why we want to do some major work on them!
Following a hectic period leading up to Christmas, life has been somewhat calmer in
2013 and has focussed on fund raising and research associated with a grant application.
With the end of 2012 close upon us, it seems a good time to give a quick round up of the first six months of our project to recast and rehang the bells. What a busy 6 months it has been, primarily focussing on fund-raising activities but also starting to put together a grant application.
The website now contains a list of items required by the project for which we are looking for sponsors.
Some items will be marked with the sponsors name and a dedication. For other items we are creating a book of dedication to record sponsors names and their dedication messages.
You can see the sponsoship inventory page here: Sponsorship inventory