News from St John’s Bell Tower

Appeal for a Peal “St John’s Bells Restoration Fund: Help get our bells ringing!”

As Lockdown is easing, my thought have returned to our bells.

Through my monthly articles in Roundabout, I have been telling the tale of getting the bells cleaned and repaired. My aim has always been to ask ringers from the Cathedral to ring a “Peal” in celebration of the completed bell restoration.

I love listening to and ringing the bells at St John’s and it is a joy to welcome visitors from across Yorkshire and beyond to ring our 8 bells, but frustratingly, despite Covid 19, our bells are silent and we are now in a chicken and egg situation.

To briefly recap:

  • Over many years pigeons have been living in our bell tower. In February this year, Ginge Roberts a local contractor and advertiser in Roundabout, made the tower pigeon proof, but the bell chamber and the bells are still covered in their mess.
  • I have obtained quotes from 3 contractors who are willing to clean the guano from the bells and the tower. Unfortunately, none of the contractors have provided proof that they have worked on bells, so we will need to also hire a Bell Restoration Specialist to oversee the work.
  • Church Bell Specialists are willing to come and look at and quote for any work needed on the bells, but not until the tower and bells are guano free. 
  • I have contacted a number of funders, but they are only interested in the restoration of the bells, not cleaning away the guano!

So where do we go from here? How do we break the stalemate?

With the support of the PCC, this month’s Roundabout sees the launch of

Appeal for a Peal “St John’s Bells Restoration Fund: Help get our bells ringing!”

We have 8 bells and to get the bells cleaned, we are asking individuals to club together or donate themselves to fund work on one or a number of bells.

The aim is to raise enough money to get supervised contractors in to remove the years of pigeon guano from the bells and the bell tower. This will cost £15,000.

Working together, over time, I’m convinced we will get clean pigeon free bells, so restoration work can begin.

  • A one off donation from a benefactor would enable all the bells to be cleaned.
  • Club together with family, friends, neighbours to donate £1,875 to clean a bell.
  • Donations of £10 for each year each bell has been in the tower will raise a staggering £14,740. Our bells were cast in 1824 and 1871. The total number of “bell years” all 8 bells have been at St John’s is an amazing 1,474 years!
  • Remember a loved one by dedication a donation in their name.
  • All donation will be acknowledged and recorded in an Appeal for a Peal Commemorative Book

Once the tower is guano free, I can get the specialists in to look at and quote for any work needed on the bells and use their quotes to approach charitable trusts, company funds and the Lottery.

Thank you for supporting the Appeal for a Peal “St John’s Bells Restoration Fund: Help get our bells ringing!”

  • Help spread the word that our bells need our help.
  • Think about any individuals who you could join forces with to fund the cleaning of a bell.
  • Look in St John’s to see our display
  • Place any donations in the safe inside be the church door. Please mark your donation Appeal for a Peal
  • Please send cheques, made payable to Sharow PCC Appeal for the Peal to Bridget Taylor-Connor, Tower Correspondent, 57 Whitcliffe Lane, Ripon, HG4 2LB
  • Anyone wishing to pay be BACS please email and I will send you the relevant bank details

If you’d like more information about the bells or the Appeal for a Peal, please get in touch.

Best wishes to everyone in these strange times.


Bridget Taylor-Connor