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Last Updated: Friday, 27 January 2006, 15:16 GMT
New 'wonder' bells ring out loud
The bellringers tried the new peal for the first time after work was completed.

The sound of four new bells has rung out from a north Wales parish church famous for its historic peal.

The bells of All Saints' in Gresford are celebrated in rhyme as one of the so-called "seven wonders of Wales".

The existing bells were too heavy for aspiring campanologists to ring. The new set are lighter, allowing children and smaller adults to learn the art.

The new four have cost 40,000 and were cast at the Whitechapel foundry in London, where Big Ben was made.

The project has taken several weeks to complete. A new bell chamber has been constructed in the clock room, beneath the original belfry in the 15th Century tower.

Although All Saint's now has a total of 12 bells, only eight will be rung at any one time. The tower captain Hilton Roberts said it will take several weeks to balance the sound between the bells.

SEVEN WONDERS OF WALES
All Saints' Church, Gresford
All Saints bells, Gresford
Llangollen Bridge
Overton yew trees
Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall
Snowdon
St Giles steeple, Wrexham
St Winefride's Well
From anonymous 18th Century poet

"It could be six months before we get it just right," said Hilton.

Oak beams may have to be moved and the acoustics of the church tower altered. A system of 'sound pipes' may even be installed to carry the correct tone through the tower.

The church currently has a team of nine bell-ringers. There was excitement on Thursday evening as they tried out the new bells for the very first time. As the tenor bell was raised and the ropes were pulled, the sound chimed across the village and the Alyn valley below.

The bell-ringers took turns to descend the spiral staircase and listen to the new peel from the churchyard.

Soon local children as young as 10 could start learning the art of bell-ringing.

Rural attraction

The funding for the project has been arranged by Northern Marches Cymru, which runs rural regeneration programmes, with money from the Welsh Assembly Government.

"We're trying to attract people to the rural areas around Wrexham. We want people to build the economy of our villages," said project officer Karen Harris.

"The bells at Gresford are very famous from the 'seven wonders' and we hope visitors will go to see and hear them being rung," said Karen.

Gresford is one of 16 churches in the 'Open Churches Network' tourism initiative.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Hear the peal of the new Gresford bells



SEE ALSO:
New church wonder bells installed
10 Jan 06 |  North East Wales
Time out for church wonder bells
31 Oct 05 |  North East Wales


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