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The Bells Must Ring for the New King

St Mary’s bells have been silent for over 7 months. The reason is that is serious instability has been identified in one of the gable end walls of the south transept.

The cost of the work is likely to be close to £200,000. Whilst we are applying to grant making bodies, we need the many good people of Nottingham to feel moved to contribute. Lots of them with a few making wonderfully generous donations. The work could start very soon – we just need the funds. Let the bells be rung for the new King in May!

On the morning of 31st May we received the following email from the Bellringers: During our bellringing practice last evening it was noticed that the external wall on the south end of the south transept was moving quite visibly in a N/S direction. The attached video which Emma took shows this. We were concerned that this not a normal movement because the join where the lead flashing is mortared into the wall had opened and was coming out. In view of this we stopped our practice and I would contact you this morning.

A structural engineer inspected and advised there needed to be further investigation. He warned that ‘appropriate remedial works may be quite comprehensive’. In early August there was a close up inspection and Peter Rogan our architect reported: ‘the late Victorian phase of repairs are weathering very badly with the stone extensively failing within the grain of the bed.. deterioration of the stonework may well have exacerbated the movement, but the actual cause of the swaying of the gable appears to be linked to the motion of the transept roof… but because the two are not tied together, the gable then develops its own harmonic which can amplified depending on subsequent movement of the roof. The fact that the south window is huge, the parapet not aligned/tied to the corner pinnacles, means that the gable is effectively hinged at the level of the springing of the window and flapping around’. 

Peter puts it poetically, but there’s no disguising the seriousness. Thanks to the bell-ringers for alerting us. Tender documents have been prepared and it’s going to cost £165,000 plus professional fees etc, meaning that the total cost is likely to be close to £200,000.