Church tower out of action until £150k can be found for restoration
PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 April 2017
A church tower dating back to 1380 is in desperate need of restoration – but until as much as £150,000 can be found to do the work the village’s church bells will no longer ring out.
People in Locking will no longer hear the sound of church bells unless work to its medieval tower has taken place.
The tower is the highest point in the village and has had to cope with six centuries of storms from Weston’s coastline.
Damp has damaged the tower and caused serious decay in its walls and the supporting beams of the tower’s bell-ringing floor, meaning it is no longer safe to use.
Churchwarden Mary French told the Mercury the church will apply for a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to fund the work, but it must raise at least a quarter of the cash required within the community.
The full extent of the work is not yet known, but costs are expected to be between £100,000 and £150,000.
Mary added: “At the moment we are not able to use the area underneath the tower and we are not able to use the bells, because the tower is unsafe.
“The bells are very significant – one of our bells was cast in Bristol in 1380, making it one of the oldest bells in the country.
“It’s really sad for weddings in particular, the bride and groom don’t get to hear the bells ringing, but it is also sad for the bell-ringers and everyone in the village.”
The church has opened its doors to gather support for the resoration, and is hosting a history exhibition about Locking, the nearby airfield and the former RAF camp. The church is open from 10am to dusk on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. There will also be coffee mornings on Thursdays from 2-5pm.
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