Bells of St Lawrence

BBC News: Oldest ring of bells played again.

For the first time in almost 25 years, Ipswich is waking up to a unique medieval sound. The Suffolk town’s St Lawrence Church houses the oldest circle of church bells in the world. The five bells have been silent since the 1980s, but now they are ringing out over the rooftops once again. The restoration of the church, its tower and the five bells, which date back to the 15th century, has cost more than £100,000.

The oldest were cast in the 1440s. For hundreds of years they rang out from the church’s distinctive tower in the heart of Ipswich town centre. But when the parish at St Lawrence dwindled away the building fell into disuse, then disrepair. The tower was declared too unstable for the bells to be rung, and they have been quiet since 1985.

You can see a photo of St Lawrence’s church on the Wikipedia page. I’ve probably heard those bells, we moved to Ipswich in 1981. (Horrible age-related wibble: I heard those bells twenty five years ago, so I’m older than 25. Who let THAT happen?)

In nearby East Bergholt there is a set of bells on the ground, in a "temporary" wooden bell cage, that’s a few hundred years old. They are deafening when rung. The church tower of St Mary’s is small, and the bells seem huge when you get close to them. Watch where you stand around bell ringing times.

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