Ring loud, ring clear!
The church bell sounds over Rodbourne to remind the community in which we live that a church service is due to start. It serves as a reminder that within our worship, at every service that takes place here, we pray for the church, the world, the community in which we live and for those in need. We pray for the sick and those who have died. It serves as a reminder of the church being at the heart of the community.
The church bell is rung at the following times:
Between 9.45am and 9.55am on Wednesdays prior to the 10am service.
Sunday’s two five minute sessions between 10.30am and 10.55am for our service at 11am.
On Sunday’s, the bell is usually rung for five minutes at a time with a break in between. Please note, we sometimes ring the bell for other occasions such as weddings, baptisms, funerals and national occasions.
The chapel and large tower in the architect’s original design were never built, but the church has a small bell turret which originally held two small bells with a combined weight of under three hundredweight.
These were rung individually, the lower toned bell reminded people that there would soon be a service, and the higher toned bell was rung nearer the service time.
A new bell was cast by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in East London in 1955, which was installed in 1956, in memory of Mr and Mrs George F West.
The Whitechapel Bell Foundry is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest manufacturing business in the United Kingdom and has cast and designed many famous bells during its history including Big Ben, The Liberty Bell and the bell used at the Opening Ceremony at the London 2012 Olympics.
The bell at St Augustine’s is 2′-2″ in diameter. It weighs 4.50 cwt (over 200kg) and tuned to the note F. The counter-balanced clapper weighs c. 30kg.
In September 2012, the bolt holding the clapper in place snapped. The clapper fell from the bell, and was stored in church. The PCC explored different options, and it was decided to restore the clapper. The Whitechapel Bell Foundry took the clapper in for repair, and made a new bolt and undercoated the clapper with metal paint. Scaffolding was erected on 7th June to enable the clapper to be refitted and the metal work of the bell to be repainted to ensure many years of service.
The bell was re-dedicated on Sunday 16th June by Revd Harvey Gibbons, Priest in Charge. It then sounded for the first time since September 2012. Prior to re-dedication, the bell was marked with the sign of the cross with the oil of baptism.
Below are some photographs of the refurbishment of the bell. Due to the design of the bell tower, it is possible to watch the bell ringing, and it can be seen clearest from Rodbourne Road near the bus stops.