New set of church bells blessed at Cheltenham Minster

Cheltenham Minster bells Image copyright David Coke
Image caption The new set of bells is due be winched up into the tower of Cheltenham Minster from 17 July.

A new set of bells has been blessed as part of a service to celebrate their arrival at a Gloucestershire church.

In 2015, Cheltenham Minster launched a £400,000 appeal to replace its 12 "tonally not good and difficult to ring" bells.

The new set of 13 bells is due to be winched up into the tower from 17 July.

Liz Coke, from the church's bell ringers, said they hoped to start ringing the "brand new, lovely shiny" bells next month.

The last time the bells were replaced was in the 1800s and the church hopes it will not be doing so again for a "similar period of time".

Image copyright Cheltenham Minster Bells
Image caption The old bells in Cheltenham Minster were described as "tonally not good and difficult to ring"

"The old bells were originally made in 1823 and for the last 100 years nothing has happened to them," said Ms Coke.

"We are the only church in the centre of the town with bells, so we decided to get a beautiful ring of 12 bells with an extra [one].

"It will take about another month for the bell hangers to hang them in the frame and they'll be in a position for us to ring them."

St Mary's is the oldest church in Cheltenham and has been in continuous use for more than 850 years.

In 2013, the site was made a minster by the then-Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Reverend Michael Perham.

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