Historic church bells removed for the first time in 100 years
- Credit: Johnny Amos
The eight bells at St Gregory's Church in Sudbury have left its bell tower for the first time in over 100 years.
The bells will be cleaned and retuned by Taylor's Bell Foundry with a view to returning them to the church by the end of August.
The ancient church is believed to be the site of St Edmund's coronation as King of East Anglia in 855AD.
The removal of the bells began on Wednesday, May 25 and a lorry transported them to Loughborough the next day.
Tower captain Pauline Brown said the bells had to be stripped down and lowered from the bell chamber.
She added: "The bells are very difficult to ring as the fittings have worn down.
"The bearings are very badly worn too which affects the handling for the bell-ringers."
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The restoration costs are being taken from funds raised by a campaign launched in November 2020.
Mrs Brown also applied for grants as she didn't want to put any extra pressure on the parish.
The closest bell foundry is situated in Loughborough, meaning that the bells will have to travel over 100 miles to undergo maintenance.
Mrs Brown believes Sudbury will miss the church bells. She said: "The sound is lovely, particularly if you live near the church tower."
Her voluntary role as tower captain means Mrs Brown is in charge of organising the bell ringers.
There are about 14 ringers, ranging from school age right up to their 80s.
She believes bell ringing requires both practise and experience and is a good hobby for socialising with other people.
She added: "I did it a couple of times and now I just can't give up."
Having lived in Sudbury for eight years, Mrs Brown is an active member of the church and has also recently been voted in as churchwarden.
She encourages people to come and view the bells once they've been retuned and said: "If you can climb 43 steps up the spiral staircase, you can even have a go at ringing the bells yourself."