Crowdfunding launch for local church bell

The bell in its temporary mounting specially for the launch event in St James'
The bell in its temporary mounting specially for the launch event in St James'

A project has been launched to restore a church bell in Stonehaven.

The bell was discovered rusting, but in otherwise good condition, at the top of the tower in St James’s Episcopal Church.

It was brought down by a steeplejack in a delicate operation and plans are under way to restore it to its rightful place. A crowdfunding scheme to part-fund the work was launched during the church’s Mothering Day Service.

Peter Sharp, chairman of the Vestry of St James’s, said: “The service was a wonderful welcome to the effort to fund this historic bell, and the whole church enjoyed the occasion.

“It’s not often that you get a chance to ring a large bell in the middle of a service.

“We all hope that the town and others will support this effort to enhance Stonehaven’s historical ties.”

The bell was used to accompany the congregation in the nursey rhyme ‘Oranges and Lemons said the bells of St Clement’s’.

There were 15 verses, accompanied by 15 bongs - the last one specially composed for the day - “Playthings and Games” said the bell of St James.

Documents show the bell was originally hung in the belfry of the Episcopal Chapel in the High Street - now demolished - and was moved to the new church when it was built in about 1885. It is hoped to have it in place for Remembrance Day on November 11, which is the 100th anniversary of the Armistice at the end of World War I.

Bell-ringers throughout the UK are planning to replicate the occasion when all the church bells in the land were rung at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. This year, the host for the Town Commemoration Parade in Stonehaven is St James’s Church, so ringing the bell during the service will be fitting.

Anyone wishing to pledge a donation should visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/restoring-st-james-1788-bell/