Squirrels in the belfry!

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I’ve had some unusual phone calls about bells in my time, but the one I got recently was up there in the top ten. It was a call from the secretary of the Belgrave Hall Conservation Area Society who also has care of the redundant church of St Peter’s. He was puzzled one day when he went into the church to find that a number of the bell ropes had apparently broken themselves and were lying on the floor in a dishevelled heap.

What happened was that a squirrel got in through the louvres but couldn’t work out how to get back out of them. The rope holes in the floor were a means of escape apart from a rope through each of them, so it chewed through two ropes at the belfry level and two at the clock chamber level, leaving the third rope with barely one strand holding it together and the sixth rope with a big chunk out of it. The squirrel was later spotted in the church and released.

So total damage was six ropes needing to be re-spliced which I have now done and refitted so that the bells are serviceable for the next ringing.


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