Bit of a mammoth afternoon fitting the wheel. Found of course that the lower half of the wheel had come off the bell easily as it was shattered. There was not enough room to get it back on. Had to fit the top half of the wheel and then manually ring the bell up by standing on the frame similar to the way "East Bergholt" bells are rung. With the bell up it was easy to fit the lower half of the wheel. Wheel fitted like a glove with all holes lining up lovely.
The wheel has had two spokes replaced and some other repairs to make it good again. Remarkably only the two smashed clean through spokes needed replacing. The shorter spoke was made from a suitable length of old desk which was the same weight colour and texture but the longer spoke was made from a length of ash. The mortise joints were machine cut and hand finished. Even some of the original dowels were reused and others were made out of the wood taken from the damaged spokes. Some damage has been glued up but the wheel is now back in good shape and ready to give good service again.
Second bell pulled off and must have smashed the stay - unfortunately this dropped between the frames and stopped the treble bell dead in the down position smashing the wheel. Had to remove the wheel through the middle floor doors which have never been used since the floor was installed forty years ago. Wheel parts then went down the spiral stairs for assessment. Will need one new horizontal spar and one spoke on the west side.
An unfortunate but quite catastrophic occurrence.
The seconds stay is perhaps the easier fix!
St Giles Bellringers
The trials and tribulations of a small village bellringing band.