Bells Forum
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Supporting over 16,000 cathedral and church buildings of The Church of England

Bells Forum

The Future of Bells and Bellframes in Closed and Closing Churches

Church House, Westminster, 24 January 2013

Background

The Statutory Advisory Committee (SAC) is a Committee of the Church Buildings Council, whose members are nominated by the Church of England (3 plus Chair) and by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (4).  It is a separate statutory body, formed in June 2008 to succeed the Advisory Board for Redundant Churches in providing heritage advice to the Church Commissioners and the Churches Conservation Trust on closed and closing Church of England churches.

As part of the transfer of function, the SAC adopted the Advisory Board’s policy on bells and bellframes.  This provided a framework which guided its advice on bells and bellframes in closed and closing churches.

Despite the fact that the policy carries no statutory weight, it has generally proved fit for purpose, although the interpretation of statutory control, public access to bells and frames in closed churches, and the relocation of ‘redundant’ bells (singles, pairs and rings) from closing churches continues to give rise to concern on all sides of the argument.

About the forum

The aim of the forum was to lay the foundations for a new policy on the preservation of bells and bellframes in closed and closing Church of England churches.  It is hoped that by bringing together representatives from the main organisations and advisory bodies involved in planning and heritage management, bell ringing and bell & bellframe history, it will be possible to identify the principles on which a new policy will be based.  It is intended that, after consultation, the new policy will be made available to the public.

Bells Forum Programme

Talk transcripts and presentations from the Forum are available by following the links below:

  1. Introduction.  By Anne McNair, Casework Officer, Statutory Advisory Committee of the Church Buildings Council
  2. Removal and relocation of bells during the closure process.  By Harvey Howlett, Closed Churches Division, Church Commissioners. [download not yet available]
  3. Churches in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.  By Peter Aiers, Director, South East, Churches Conservation Trust
  4. Relocation and reuse of bells.  By Dave Kelly, Secretary, Keltek Trust
  5. A Local Planning Perspective.  By Bob Kindred, IHBC and former head of conservation services at Ipswich Borough Council.  Now in private practice

Since the meeting, Bob Cooles, Chairman of the CCCBR Committee for Redundant Bells, has written an article about the Forum.  This was published in The Ringing World on 22 February 2013 and can be downloaded at:
Church House Forum on Bells

For further information, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: + 44 (0)20 7898 1863
Cathedral and Church Buildings Division
Church House
Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3AZ