Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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Helen and I chugged off to France in May. We stopped at a small village on the French side of the French-German border. The Church was on the main drag through the place, its entrance door opening out to the pavement. Outside on a stand for all to view was a bell. Not a small one, but a decently large one of (I guessed) about 7cwt: see photo.

How is it that a big lump of bronze can sit happily in a public area in France next to passing cars without being carted away in the middle of the night by scrap metal thieves? Doing that here would amount to sheer lunacy and downright irresponsibility, as we have thieves taking roadside manhole tops and climbing onto church roofs to take the lead. The bell (scrap value £2-3k) would be taken almost immediately.

Perhaps we have something to learn from our continental cousins. CMP

(This may be an ideal time to remind all those who have the responsibility of any sort for bells in our churches - ringers and PCCs - that there are naughty people out there who remove such things if left unsecured. They seem able to overcome most barriers in their quest to remove such items; and seem to have no qualms about taking from a church.

I expect we all know of redundant bells sitting in churches, completely unsecured. In many cases they are historic bells of great age. Don't think that, because they are heavy, no-one will take them away. Sadly, thieves are very clever and generally find a way to undertake removals quickly and efficiently. A bell might be there one day, but not the next… Please secure.)