We have had many enquiries about when our beautifully restored clock face is actually going to start telling the time again.

The clock mechanism has been fully restored, and we've been looking after it for some time now.

But the clock needs a bell to strike, and although the bell itself has been restored, a decision to comission a bespoke medieval-style bell frame to hang it in (rather than the ugly, awkward and not very safe RSJ that the bell had previously been strapped to), has caused a short delay.

Bell foundries (who also have skilled craftspeople capable of building bespoke wooden medieval-style bell frames) are few and far between in the UK. The one that we are using is extremely busy.

So we weren't holding our breath.

Then, out of the blue, and ahead of schedule we were sent the photographs below, showing that they are making amazing progress (thanks guys!):

  1. Restored bell with the wooden part of the new headstock in place
  2. New bell frame under construction
  3. Bell frame assembled with protective finish applied (notice that it is held together with threaded steel rods, allowing it to be partially dismantled so the parts will fit through our small 'loft hatch' into the bell chamber

Shefford bell and frame

Shefford bell frame under construction

Bell Frame Nearing Completion

All of this work is being funded by the Robert Lucas Trust, for which we are immensley grateful. Shefford's very own Trust aims 'To assist the needy and organisations benefiting the public in the parish of Shefford, which also includes educational grants for university students'

So, the answers to the big questions:

  • When will the clock start telling the time? - the best information that we have so far is 'late summer' (2019)
  • When will the bell start chiming again? - same as above, BUT the bell will be striking, NOT chiming (chiming is the 'pretty bit' ahead of the strike that requires a number of bells to enable a tune to be played). Only one bell, so we'll have to strike. For now...

Photographs and Information: Patricia Goulding

Editorial: Stephen Lines

Date: 1st July 2019

HLF Funded
With the scaffolding down and the external part of our restoration project complete, focus has now switched to the interior improvements.

New Glass Doors
New heating and lighting has already been installed and we are pleased to announce that the re-modelling of the entrance lobby was completed in May 2019, by the fitting of new custom built glass doors.

The new lobby makes the church far more accessible and welcoming, with several positive comments already.

As you can see from the photograph, the new lobby allows the external doors to be fully open, signalling a welcome to passers by, whilst controlling draughts and noise in the building.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, All Churches Trust, the Beds & Herts Historic Churches Trust, the Francis Coales Charitable Foundation, and the Steel Charitable Trust.

 

Photograph/Editorial: Stephen Lines

Date: May 2019

 

 

Watch this year's Easter day performance of the joyous sermon of Hippolytus!

And in case you didn't get it all (quite a bit of traffic noise, sorry), here's a transcript:

Pascal Sermon - HIPPOLYTUS of Rome

Are you God's friend and lover? rejoice in this glorious feast of feasts!

Are you God's servant, knowing God's wishes? be glad with your Master, share his rejoicing!

Are you worn down with the labour of fasting? now is your payday!

Have you been working since early morning? you will be paid fair and square.

Have you been here since the third hour? you can be thankful, you will be pleased.

If you came at the sixth hour, come up without fear, you will lose nothing.

Did you linger till the ninth hour? come forward without hesitation.

Even if you came at the eleventh hour? have no fear; it is not too late.

God is a generous employer, treating the last to come as he treats the first arrival.

God gives to the one and gives to the other: honours the deed and praises the intention.

Join, then, all of you, join in our Master's rejoicing.

You who were the first to come, you who came after, come now and collect your wages.

Rich and poor, sing and dance together.

You that are hard on yourselves, you that are easy, celebrate this day.

You that have fasted and you that have not, make merry today.

The meal is ready: come and enjoy it. The calf is a fat one: you will not go away hungry. There's hospitality for all, and to spare.

No more apologizing for your poverty: the kingdom belongs to us all.

No more bewailing your failings: forgiveness has come from the grave.

No more fears of your dying: the death of our Saviour has freed us from fear.

Death played the Master: but He has mastered death

Isaiah knew this would happen, and he cried: "Death was angered when it met you in the pit."

It was angered, for it was defeated.

It was angered, for it was mocked.

It was angered, for it was abolished.

It was angered, for it was overthrown.

It was angered, for it was bound in chains.

Death swallowed a body, and met God face to face.

It took earth and encountered heaven.

It took what is seen and fell upon the unseen.

O Death, where is your sting? O Grave, where is your victory?

Christ is risen and you are overthrown.

Christ is risen and evil has fallen.

Christ is risen and the angels rejoice.

Christ is risen and life reigns.

Christ is risen and not one dead remains in the tomb.

Christ is risen indeed from the dead, the first of all who had fallen asleep.

Glory and power to him for ever and ever!

Christ is risen! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

Christ is risen! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

Christ is risen! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

Video: Stephen Lines

Date: Easter Sunday, 21st April 2019

The Shefford branch of the Royal British Legion have donated a splendid bench to the people of Shefford.

The bench has been in existance for some time, but our Tower restoration project, and its scaffolding has prevented it from being installed.

The scaffold started to be dismantled on 27th March, and within a few days the bench was in place, proudly bearing the words 'Lest we forget'.

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Photographs: Patricia Goulding
Author: Stephen Lines
Published: 29/03/2019
Christian AidHi all,
 
Amazing, brilliant, fantastic!!  The 6th and last Lent Lunch (including extra envelopes given by people unable to attend) achieved £335.60 for Christian Aid.  This takes our overall total to £1300.60, not including the additional amounts to be claimed through Gift Aid.
 
This achievement is a reflection of all the hard work and commitment given to the Lent Lunches by each of the four churches in our Churches Together; as we rejoice in being able to give generously to those in need in God's world, I hope we can also rejoice in the strength of our fellowship in Christ in this place, and continue to live and grow God's Kingdom.
 
Many, many thanks to all.
 
Jenny Dann
 
Source: Jenny Dann
Published: Saturday 13th April 2019

HLF FundedThe external restoration of our Historic Tower is now complete, but the scaffolding and Monarflex sheeting was hiding the finished product from view. Until now...

Wednesday 27th March (two days ahead of the official schedule) saw the start of the scaffolding being dismantled to reveal the restoration work in all its glory. It took several days to remove everything, but as the bulk of the work had been done on the top third of the tower, the inquisitive residents of Shefford were able to see the results of this highly ambitious project by the end of the first day.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, All Churches Trust, the Beds & Herts Historic Churches Trust, the Francis Coales Charitable Foundation, and the Steel Charitable Trust.

So, here are some photos of the 'Big Reveal':

Top of the tower revealed

Scaffolding Coming Down; 27th March 2019

Scaffolding coming down; 27/03/2019

Scaffolding coming down 27th March 2019

Scaffolding coming down; 27/03/2019

Scaffolding coming down; 27/03/2019

Scaffolding coming down; 27/03/2019

Simply beautiful, and having been privileged to see the work close-up from the scaffolding in February, I am confident that this restoration will secure the fabric of this beautiful tower for many generations to come.

Photographs: Nick Rogers ,Patricia Goulding, Stephen Lines

Author: Stephen Lines

Date: 27th March 2019