Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

Notes of a meeting between CCCBR, EH and CBC representatives

A meeting took place on Monday, 10th October 2011 at Church House, Westminster, between representatives of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and officers of the Church Buildings Council and English Heritage.

CBC: David Knight
EH: Diana Evans, Graham Pledger
CCCBR: Kate Flavell, Chris Mew, Mary Bone, Alan Frost (Towers & Belfries Committee), Bob Cooles (Committee for Redundant Bells)

The meeting was chaired by Diana Evans.

1.Matters arising from previous meeting notes (RW, 24 Jun)
(a) The meeting noted the initial results from the HLF consultation on their future strategic framework and that funding would still be available for churches. Recent large grants for bells had been awarded to Little Paxton and Westbury.
(b) EH and CBC invited ringers’ support for the e-petition on regulation of the scrap metal trade. EH’s revised guidance note on the theft of metal from church buildings was issued in September and can be downloaded here www.english-heritage.org.uk/publications/theft-metal-church-buildings/

2. DAC bell advisers’ conference
The Southwell conference in June was successful and a report in The Ringing World is awaited; the meeting agreed that it was surprising that the report had not been published sooner. The 2012 conference will be held in Worcester on 13 June, with an informal gathering the previous evening. Subject to confirmation, the 2013 conference will be held in York.

3. Bell frame recording guidance
CBC reported that Church Bell Frames: guidance notes for identifying historic significance and preparing reports had been published in September (www.churchcare.co.uk/pdf_view.php?id=253). Examples of the appraisal and the three different levels of recording, using the same frame, would be available and added to the website by the end of the year so PCCs, DACs, Chancellors and ringers could see the differences between the levels of recording. EH had provided funding to commission the reports.

4. Training in bell frame recording
The meeting agreed that SPAB should be invited to attend the next meeting to give an update on this project and whether it would be developed further.

5. Church Buildings Council policy
The document The Church Buildings Council and DACs: Working in Partnership was agreed in autumn 2010. Appendix 1, section 13 (page 8) clarifies the position on referrals to the CBC of work on bells and bell frames (www.churchcare.co.uk/pdf_view.php?id=182).

6. Updated Statements of Significance and Need guidance
The meeting noted that the guidance was available to download from the Churchcare website (www.churchcare.co.uk/pdf_view.php?id=194 and www.churchcare.co.uk/pdf_view.php?id=195)

7. Updates on particular cases
Stoke Canon: CBC confirmed their consistent policy not to make grants for projects which involved the recasting of bells of listable quality.
Wookey: decay had been discovered in the foundation beams during the work to rehang the bells in the existing frame and a new faculty was needed. There appeared to be differences of opinion on the proposed repair option and the PCC appears to be worried about strong local views. EH had now commented formally on the proposal, recommending the insertion of steel foundation beams between the existing foundation beams and bellframe sills. It was also recognised that, whilst the more expensive timber repair proposal put forward locally was, in principle, acceptable, slate wedging and packing around the foundation beams was not. It was agreed that the T&B Chairman should advise the PCC to follow the EH recommendation.

8. Bells in closed or closing churches
Bob Cooles expressed concern that local authorities were refusing listed building consent for the transfer of bells from closed churches, after these had been declared closed. He recalled that, in the early years of the redundancy schemes, rings of bells had been transferred to other churches while still under ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Alan Frost noted difficulties in enforcing covenants or lease provisions which should ensure that the bells remained available to be rung. CBC hoped for more engagement with CCCBR on this issue on future and agreed to invite Jeffrey West and Anne McNair to the next meeting, for which Bob Cooles would prepare a paper.

9. Other matters
(a) Diamond Jubilee: CBC, on behalf of the Archbishops’ Council, welcomed the news that many ringers were making plans to ring for The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
(b) CCCBR reported its concerns about proposals for ringing for the start of the Olympics.
(c) CBC reported the membership of the Bells Sub-Committee from 2012 (below).

The next meeting will be held on Monday, 25th June 2012 at Church House, with a virtual meeting or conference call earlier in the year if necessary.

Mary Bone, Chris Mew
November 2011

CBC Bells Sub-Committee membership
Dr Alan Thurlow (Chairman)
Douglas Kent
Alan Strickland
Andrew Lamb
Dr John Baldwin
Andrew White
Christopher Ridley
James Clarke
Julian Munby

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