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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 March 2006, 16:34 GMT
'Oldest' church bells are saved
St Andrew's and St George's Church bell
The bells are being taken to London for re-tuning
Efforts to save what is reputed to be Scotland's oldest peal of church bells have proven successful.

They were installed in St Andrew's and St George's Church in central Edinburgh in the late 18th Century, but their condition deteriorated over time.

Enough money has now been raised to modernise the eight bells and the tower in which they hang.

The last three were removed on Thursday so they can be taken to a foundry in London for re-tuning.

The church's minister, the Reverend Roderick Campbell, said the bells were an important part of church life.

Safety reasons

"They are being re-tuned and tidied up after two centuries," he told BBC Scotland.

"That process will take several months down in London and they will then be taken back and restored."

Efforts to raise money for the restoration project began two years ago, when five of the eight bells were removed for safety reasons.

Alison Campbell, one of those leading the project, said it was the oldest peal of bells in Scotland.

'Proper way'

"They started ringing them in 1788 and that went on until 1903, although there was some worry about the drinking habits of the bell ringers," she said.

"That caused the council some concern and they sent the town clerk off at one point to tell them off about that."

She said they stopped ringing the bells the "proper way" in 1903, introducing a system of hammers instead of the full change ringing.

The original system will be restored when the bells are returned to the tower.

Watch the bells being removed for re-tuning

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