During 2006, the bell ringers of Abingdon replaced the St Helen bells and frame with:
- 10 new bells in the key of F, tenor weighing 16 cwt
- Single-level cast iron frame
In addition, improved sound control was installed, reducing the disturbance to our neighbours of occasional or practice ringing. We also converted the clock to electric winding, giving more space in the ringing chamber by removing the weight case.
Why did we need to do this?
The bells became increasingly difficult to ring, especially for learners, because:
- The wood of the frame was shrinking. It could not be tightened any more to stop it moving during ringing
- The upper tier of the frame was poorly braced, so it moved even more
- The bells were heavier than necessary
In addition, the bells had poor tone, and the split-level frame gave uneven sound distribution.
The total budget was £170,000. This sum was raised through
- Legacy of Edgar Humfrey, a former bell ringer in Abingdon
- Grant from the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers
- Donors for the new bells
- Donations from bell ringers in Abingdon and in neighbouring towns and villages
- Support from local people and friends of the church
- Grants from the Town Council and Joint Environmental Trust
- Lottery grant from Awards for All