The Llewellyn Edwards Bell Restoration Fund

The Llewellyn Edwards Bell Restoration Fund, Registered Charity no 270529 in the UK, makes grants towards the restoration and augmentation of church bells in the Diocese of Salisbury. Over the last 5 years we have made grants totalling £28,500.

To make a donation please contact the LEBRF Administrator. If you wish to make a donation via a postal form please open the donation page, complete the form and post to the address detailed.

To apply for a grant please contact the LEBRF Administrator. The LEBRF Administrator will then contact you with reference to your query. You can download an application form here. Before making an application please acquaint yourself with the rules of the fund.

The Need For Restoration

Change Ringing is a living evolving art with a continuously improving accompanying technology. This technology has moved a long way since change ringing began in the sixteenth century. Cast iron and steel have replaced wood for headstocks and frames. These have the advantage of being easier to maintain and not subject to worm and rot. Modern ball and roller bearings make the bells easier to ring and do not require the weekly greasing of the old plain bearings. A good wheel can last two hundred years but even with the best of care and attention bell fittings and frames can become worn. Too often the belfry is out of sight and out of mind and the bells and fittings are neglected.

The restoration of bells can be an emotive subject but it should be borne in mind that bells were, and still are, made to ring tunefully to the Glory of God and that Health and Safety at Work Regulations apply in belfries. There is little point in restoring bells and their fittings if they are not made easily ringable or remain a potential danger to those who ring them. Neglecting or abandoning them is a betrayal of trust to past and future generations.

Despite the many bell restoration projects since the fund was formed towers and bells will always need work on them and the money to pay for it. Fittings wear out, bells can crack, extra bells may be wanted. The problem is almost always the same. Parishes with small congregations have little, if any, money to spare and there are more important things than bells to spend it on. There may be few or no ringers in the parish and a difficult ring of bells does not make ringing attractive.

Frank Llewellyn Edwards

Frank Llewellyn Edwards 1873-1956
Frank Llewellyn Edwards 1873-1956

Frank Llewellyn Edwards was born in 1873 at Kington Magna, a village not far from Gillingham. He was educated at Bath College, New College Oxford and Ridley Hall Cambridge. After teaching for 2 years in Switzerland he returned home and, in 1902, was ordained in Liverpool Cathedral to serve as precentor at St. Paul’s Princes Park. Later he held chaplaincies in Spain and Cyprus.

In 1908 he was inducted as Rector of Kington Magna where he remained until retirement in 1956. There he saw the bells augmented to five, introduced handbell ringing at festivals and taught the village children to sing in seven languages. In 1913 the Guild elected him Secretary and Treasurer, a post he held for thirty-seven years. To know that he was at the helm was to be quite confident of sound progress and of the safeguarding of all the members’ interests, wrote C.C. Cox. Two years earlier he had been elected a member of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and was later made a Life Member of it, a rare honour. He was convener of the Literature and Press Committee of that body for many years.

A much travelled man, no meeting seemed too distant for him to attend. One member recalls meeting him in Newcastle sitting in the smoke room of the Turk’s Head Hotel, smoking his pipe with gusto and dipping into a jar of ale.

Edwards died on Christmas Eve 1956. Half-muffled ringing took place at Kington Magna. A board commemorating his memory was dedicated at a special gathering on May 9th 1959 when local ringers rang for the service and handbells were rung at the graveside.

Taken from A Century of ChangesSalisbury Diocesan Guild of Ringers 1882 – 1982, Roger Keeley.

Contact the LEBRF Administrator