WATCH: Historic Shrewsbury Cathedral bell can ring out again after repairs
It hasn't been rung in almost 50 years, but the bellowing chimes of Shrewsbury Cathedral's bell can now be heard across the town centre once again.
The bell, forged just months after the end of the Crimean War, was reinstalled at the cathedral in Belmont after a month-long repair project.
It was cast in June 1856, but was not rung for nearly 50 years after wear and tear stopped it from swinging and rendered its iron clapper immoveable.
But John Taylor Bellfounders, in Loughborough, the firm that made the bell more than 160 years ago, has been repairing, cleaning and restoring it, as well as fitting it with an advanced automated ringing system.
WATCH: Repaired cathedral bell back bonging again
The tolling system will allow clergy and cathedral officials to make the bell chime at the simple touch of a button from a remote control key fob which can be programmed far in advance.
The work involved removing and repairing the bell, sandblast-cleaning it and checking for and filling cracks, before it was reinstalled on new fittings.
Besides the automated ringing system, a rope was also attached so the bell can be tolled manually if necessary.
Before the bell was hoisted up and fastened above the roof to ring out once more, it was blessed by the Rt Rev Mark Davies, the Bishop of Shrewsbury, during a ceremony at the cathedral. It was named John Henry after St John Henry Newman, England's newest saint.
Richard Keddie, development officer at the cathedral, said: "It looks great, it looks like a brand new bell. The new automated system gives it a wonderful sound.
“This is a great occasion for Shrewsbury Cathedral and one which will enhance the fabric and essence of this beautiful place of worship.
“Future-proofing the bell and adopting the new automated tolling system will certainly add to the cathedral’s presence once again within the town and will also be extremely useful for clergy requiring control of the bell for use at various services held here.”
The bell restoration is part of work being done throughout the cathedral to bring it back to its former glory.
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