Page last updated at 07:53 GMT, Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Historic church bells reinstalled

St Nicholas Church bells
The bells have been heard across Durham for more than 320 years

Church bells that were cast more than 300 years ago have been reinstalled at a Durham City church after undergoing a £90,000 refit.

The six bells of St Nicholas Church were cast during the reign of King James II in 1687 and are said to be some of the oldest in the North East.

They were sent to a foundry in London in May after signs of age were found.

Workmen reinstalled the bells, the largest of which weighs in at half a tonne, on Monday.

Bell ringers raised about 50% of the cash needed to fund the work, which was carried out at the Whitechapel foundry where the bells were originally cast.

The refitted bells are due to be rung for the first time on Wednesday.

The fittings for the bells, including the frame, wheels and pulleys have been completely renewed.

The bells themselves were cleaned and retuned.

They were hoisted from a transporter to the top of scaffolding outside the church and then placed in the bell tower.

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