Hereford & Worcester

Bedwardine church bells ring again after beetle infestation

Church bells
Image caption The restoration work to replace the rotten timbers and fix the roof cost almost £250,000

Bells are ringing again in a Worcester church, four years after they were silenced by a beetle infestation.

St John-in-Bedwardine Church had to remove its set of eight bells and stop its clock after death-watch beetles were found in the tower.

Structural repairs had to be carried out, which included replacing the tower's oak beams with metal ones.

The restoration work, which cost almost £250,000, was largely raised by local people.

Years of a leaking roof in the tower had created the perfect conditions for death-watch beetles. They love damp wood - particularly oak - and their tunnelling can reduce beams and rafters to dust very quickly.

Norman structure

Philip Evans, appeal assistant treasurer, said: "The beetles were happily munching on the wood, there was sawdust everywhere.

"The whole thing took longer than we expected as we discovered more and more problems - including the fact that there were two roofs.

"The key thing now is to keep the whole place dry so the beetles don't wake up again."

The clock also had to be stopped and sealed up because of the amount of sawdust. The church hopes to reconnect it before Christmas.

St John's is thought to date from about 1165 and still retains some of its original Norman structure.

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