Keep Our Bells Ringing
 
At the end of July 2015, we launched a fund-raising campaign to raise enough money to re-cast and re-hang the church bells; and also to undertake some structural work to strengthen the tower. Read about what we would like to do here.
 
If you are able to give a donation please use the donation form here.

Could you be a Major Donor? Read how here.
 
Latest Update 24th September:
  • Funds promised so far are £23,897!
About the bells and the tower:  
 
 
Drayton St Leonard bells have rung out across the village and felds for     
over 500 years. They continue to ring Sunday by Sunday for services, and     
also for weddings and special occasions.     
 
The current ring of 6 bells was cast in 1884 and they hang in a traditional     
oak bell frame at the level of the louvred windows near the top of the     
tower. The tower is unusual being a largely independent timber structure     
within the west end of the church. All towers move when bells are rung     
– however the movement here is not ideal because the total weight of     
the current bells is rather more than the structure is comfortably able to     
withstand. Although not at a dangerous level, the consequent movement     
of the tower makes the bells challenging to ring , a problem which is     
exacerbated in the summer months due to shrinkage of the timber. As a     
consequence, we have only been able to ring 5 of our 6 bells for the past     
few summers.     

In addition to this, the bell fittings have almost reached the end of their     
life and need replacing.   
 
What we would like to do:     

To secure the future of ringing for at least the next hundred years, and     
give us bells that are easier to ring and to teach learners on, we would     
like to:     
  • Remove the existing bells from the tower and re-cast them to a lighter, more tuneful ring of 6.
  • Re-hang them on new fttings.   
  • Install a rope guide.    
  • Stifen the tower with internal bracing and other work.     
The Whitechapel Bell Foundry (who cast the current bells in 1884)     
has drawn up a specifcation for the casting and bell hanging work.     
Amazingly, they have in their store the original stamps that were used     
for the inscriptions all those years ago, and will be able to use them on     
the new bells! Building contractors will undertake the structural work     
whilst the tower is empty.     
 
The total cost of the work is likely to be in the region of £70,000.     
 
Where is the money coming from?     

As much as we can raise from charitable bodies who support churches,     
church bells and historic buildings.     
 
Those who consider themselves friends of the church. People who might     
not be involved in the life of the church but want to ensure the bells     
continue to ring.     
 
Anyone looking for a ftting memorial to a departed loved one, including     
past residents or people with Drayton connections.     
 
We plan to hold some fundraising events in the village.     
 
We are also asking you to consider donating a bell and/or its fttings. For     
the six people or families who contribute the cost of a whole bell, there is     
the possibility of a short appropriate inscription to be cast into the bell.     
 
Likely breakdown of costs for the project:     
 
  Bell Fittings Total
Treble £4000 £3500 £7500
Second £4000 £3500 £7500
Third £4500 £3500 £8000
Fourth £4500 £3500 £8000
Fifth £5000 £3500 £8500
Tenor £6000 £3500 £9500
Rope Guide     £2000
Associated Whitechapel Work     £7000
Structural Work     £12000
 
There are many ways to contribute:     
 
Cash or a cheque made payable to Drayton St Leonard PCC for as much     
as you can afford. If you Gift Aid your donation then we can claim back     
the basic tax paid. Maybe you would like to spread your donation over say     
12 months or 2 years. This can be arranged as well – please ask.     

It is intended that a full record of all donors will be kept and displayed in     
the bell tower to be seen by future generations.
    
If you would like to discuss a potential donation or would like more     
information on the project, please contact the Project Co-ordinator,     
Hilarie Rogers on 01865 890163 or hilarierogers at gmail.com