Phase one of the project was to strengthen the tower of the Grade 1 Listed Medieval Church. This work was undertaken in around 2005 and 2006. You can see the metal reinforcing plates and bars around the top of the tower.
Phase two of the project commenced in the autumn of 2015. The bells were removed from the original oak bell frame which had been constructed from Elizabethan ships’ timbers and they were lowered from the tower, the first time since they had been taken from the tower in 255 years.
The six bells had been cast by Rudhall’s foundry in Gloucester in 1761. At that time it was unusual for bells to be cast away from the church. They were heavy and transport links were not available as they are today. Instead it was more usual for a temporary foundry to be set up in the churchyard and the materials brought to the church so that the bells could be cast there. How the bells got from Gloucester to Checkley is not known. The canals were not built until about 15 years after the bells were cast so it is probable that they were brought up the River Severn to Stourport and then transported by land or alternatively taken by barge around the coast to Liverpool and then brought by horse and cart from there
The bells were lowered down from a small hatchway at the back of the nave and then loaded onto a wagon to be taken to Whitechapel Bell Foundry to be renovated and re-tuned.
After the bells were removed and sent to Whitechapel Bell Foundry for renovation the new bell frame was installed. The video on the left shows the approximate position in the tower.
The new steel bell frame was installed into the clock chamber (below the original medieval frame) ready for the bells to be re-installed.