Ringing the changes with new bell at St Albans Abbey

HISTORY was made on Monday when a new bell was hoisted into the Norman Tower of St Albans Abbey in front of an audience of onlookers.

Thirteen new bells were consecrated at the Abbey last month and one, which is named after St Jude and weighs just over a quarter of a tonne, was winched into its final resting place through the decorative nave crossing ceiling on Monday morning watched closely by George Laverick, the Abbey’s clerk of works.

Also on hand was the Abbey’s architect who was so confident that the 900-year-old tower could take the weight of the bells that he volunteered to stand underneath as St Jude was raised.

Bell donors, members of the congregation and the local community were invited to witness the operation about which the Dean of St Albans, the Very Rev Jeffrey John, said: “This is another major step towards the completion of the Cathedral’s new bells project.

“With four decades of fundraising and planning behind us, seeing the first bell ascend into the tower marks another major milestone. Once again I would like to thank all those whose generosity and time has enabled us to get this far.”

Bells have rung at the Abbey since the 11th Century and the fund to upgrade the bells after deterioration of the fittings and movement made them difficult to ring was started over four decades ago, following a bequest from bell ringer Reginald Ewer.