Page last updated at 12:58 GMT, Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Bells are back at 'Austen' church

Bell outside church
The eight bells were repaired at a foundry in Leicester

The Devon church immortalised in a film adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility has got its bells back after they were sent away for repair.

St Mary's Church, Berry Pomeroy, was used as the setting for a wedding scene in the 1995 film starring Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant and Kate Winslet.

The eight bells, some of which date from 1553, were banned for being too dangerous by an architect.

Work to restore them at a foundry in Leicester took six months.

We've been using a CD for weddings and things - it's not quite right but better than nothing
Bernard Hawkins, churchwarden

Churchwarden Bernard Hawkins said: "We stopped ringing the bells eighteen months ago.

"Since then we've been using a CD for weddings and things - it's not quite right but better than nothing."

The bell restoration project cost 45,000 with money raised through grants and donations.

"It's a village church and it's tradition to ring bells on Sundays and weddings, etc.

"It's very important for a church of this sort of age and tradition to carry on [bell ringing]," Mr Hawkins added.

Re-installing the bells inside the church is expected to take until the end of April, when a special bell ringing service is planned to celebrate their return.

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