Bells well that ends well

His­toric chimes from St James’ have a new home

Paisley Daily Express - - Funds Pour In To Help Vandal-hit Community Farm - Chris Tay­lor The chimes are to be re­housed

His­to­ri­ans have won their bat­tle to save eight bells from a for­mer Kirk.

The Scot­tish As­so­ci­a­tion of Change Ringers ( SACR) will re­home the chimes from St James’ Church in Pais­ley.

They were cast 135 years ago and ex­perts warned they could be lost if an­other tower is not found to house them.

Fraser Car­lin, head of plan­ning and hous­ing at Ren­frew­shire Coun­cil, gave the go-ahead to re­move them from the Un­der­wood Road build­ing in a re­port to mem­bers.

He said: “St James’ Church is a fine Gothic re­vival church de­signed by Hip­polyte Blanc in 1880.

“The church was dis­solved in May two years ago and is cur­rently va­cant.

“The build­ing came onto the open mar­ket last Septem­ber, and the par­tic­u­lars of the sale note that var­i­ous items, in­clud­ing the bells, may not be in­cluded.

“The SACR seeks to re­move the bells so that they can be placed in safe stor­age un­til a new home can be found.

“The re­moval would en­tail the tem­po­rary dis­as­sem­bling of a dec­o­ra­tive wooden ceil­ing and win­dow with mul­lion.

“How­ever, all el­e­ments would be re­in­stated once the bells have been re­moved.

“The church at St James’ has now been dis­solved and it is highly un­likely that the build­ing will be used as a church again in the future.

“The ap­pli­cant has ad­vised that there is an op­por­tu­nity now to re­move the bells and safe­guard them for future use.

“I would con­sider this to be more de­sir­able than the bells re­main­ing un­used and non- main­tained at best, or, at worst, be­ing dis­carded.”

The bells are in the key of E flat — with the heav­i­est weigh­ing more than a tonne.

SACR is work­ing with the Kel­tek Trust — which helps find new uses for church bells across the UK — to find an­other kirk near Pais­ley.

They in­sist the arte­facts are a “fine ex­am­ple” of chang­ering­ing bells and were cast at the John Tay­lor Bell Foundry of Lough­bor­ough in 1882.

Work­men will lower the chimes through a se­ries of trap­doors.

Mr Car­lin added: “A key ma­te­rial con­sid­er­a­tion in assess­ment of this ap­pli­ca­tion is the con­sul­ta­tion re­sponse from His­toric En­vi­ron­ment Scot­land.

“While it has not ob­jected to the ap­pli­ca­tion, it has out­lined a pref­er­ence for the bells to re­main in situ un­til a future use for the build­ing is es­tab­lished.

“The con­tri­bu­tion that church bells make to the char­ac­ter and un­der­stand­ing of church build­ings mainly de­rives for their func­tion, which is to ring when ser­vices are be­ing held and also to iden­tify the time.

“At St James’, the bells are not vis­i­ble from pub­lic van­tage points within and out­with the build­ing.”

The SACR in­sists the his­toric bells could be lost or dam­aged if they are not re­moved and could be boarded up or bro­ken down by de­vel­op­ers in the future.

The chimes have been re­moved from the church once – to re­tune them in 1909.

Eight bells will toll

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