Let the Bells Ring!
by Lauri Cielo
A fundraiser to repair the bronze bells at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
The Society Hill neighborhood is used to hearing the melodic bells ring out at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church every day. Especially during this COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers at St. Peter’s have been faithfully ringing the bells to bring joy and hope to the nearby residents.
But recently the bells, which were cast in England in 1842, fell silent. We have discovered that the eight historic bells in the steeple of St. Peter’s Church are in immediate need of repair. For safety reasons, we are unable to ring the bells until the repairs are made.
An inspection of the bells revealed the bell clappers and support bolts are failing and unsafe and must be replaced. That repair work, and other maintenance to seal the bells’ wooden yokes and brace the playing stand, is estimated to cost $55,000.
We hope that our parish and our neighbors can come together to raise money to support this project. Please contribute to our “Let the Bells Ring!” fundraiser so we can quickly repair the bells and keep them ringing!
The eight bells were cast and installed by the English bell foundry Whitechapel in 1842, the same foundry that cast the Liberty Bell. These type of bells are traditionally played by swinging in a full circle; however at St. Peter’s the bells were made stationary many years ago to allow tunes or melodies to be played. A bell ringer pulls ropes connected to bell clappers to play each chime.
The bells themselves are in good condition, but the support bolts that support their weight (the largest bell weighs 1,344 pounds) are all in poor condition and have corroded over time. The cast iron clappers are also in poor condition, as well as the bolts and shims that hold the clappers in place.
To make a donation to support the repair of the St. Peter’s bells, please
September 19, 2020
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May 28, 2019