The Bells Of St. Mary's

A Taunton Community Project

The Project

What is this project about?

Sadly the tune-ringing carillon and clock chimes which have rung out over Taunton for over 130 years have broken and are beyond repair. The sound of the carillon is unique in the South West and is associated by visitors and townspeople alike with the town of Taunton.

The carillon is a set of mechanical hammers that operate on 15 bells hung almost at the top of the tower. Twelve of these bells are also hung for change ringing and this is how we ring for church services, weddings and other special events. Unfortunately the bells themselves are suffering from wear and tear, are difficult to ring, need new bearings and one has cracked.

The bells have been inspected by three bellhanging firms and they all advise that the main problem with the bells is their poor tonal quality and particularly their poor `go' (ie handling and control of the bells when ringing) due to tower movement. This makes them unsuitable for teaching new ringers, particularly children. Further, they advise that the existing bells will always be tonally poor, even if retuned.

This project is to provide a new, modern carillon and to rehang the bells on which the carillon operates so that the town has a musical set of bells that are easy to ring, are suitable for teaching both adults and children and enable the clock chimes and familiar tunes to ring out once more over Taunton.


The Cost

We need to raise about £300,000 in total. This includes the installation of new carillon equipment, the recasting of the bells, all the work connected with installing them in the tower as well as new fittings and building work inside the tower.

This is a great deal of money but it can be broken up into smaller chunks . The largest cost is the casting of the bells themselves.

How can you help?

Would you, or someone you know, be willing to, donate a bell or the carillon, suitably inscribed, as a permanent memorial to a loved one?

There are also many other items that could be purchased and marked with commemorative plaques to recognise contributions from individuals, businesses or corporate organisations . Each bell needs a wheel, a rope, pulley blocks etc.

Any contribution however small is very welcome. All donations made by tax payers can be Gift Aided and allow us to claim an additional allowance from the Inland Revenue at no cost to you. Our registered charity number can be obtained using the 'contact us' link.

Another way you can help is to support our fund raising activities. Perhaps you can help by donating transport to get the bells to the bellhangers or give other help in kind. Our project manager would be delighted to hear of any suggestions of help that you may have.