© This website and its content including photographs are the copyright of Cliff and Jan Cowin and parts have been based on extracts from their book ‘The Idyll in the Middyl’. Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited. You may not, except with our express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system. 2006 -
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Cliff's adventures in the Belfry
I was very privileged to be allowed access to the church belfry by our Rector Andy Higgs, in order to take some photographs.
He warned me that the steps up to the belfry were very steep and dangerous – and he was right!
On the day I went to take the pictures, a group of ladies were holding a meeting in the church. They very kindly offered me a cup of tea to sustain me on my mission, and as I headed towards the tower I couldn’t help noticing the looks of concern spreading across their faces as they warned me to be careful.
Standing at the bottom of the tower where the bell ropes hang, I looked up the ancient, steep, dark, narrow staircase leading to the first level, and began my ascent. At the top, I lifted a heavy, hinged, loft hatch and clambered through it to the first floor which houses the workings of the church clock behind two doors.
To gain access to the next level up where the bells are hung, I had to climb a ladder up to another loft hatch. I was expecting this one to be hinged like the previous hatch, but it wasn’t -
I climbed through and, standing there triumphant, I was now in the belfry. At this point I was covered in dust, cobwebs and bat droppings. Obviously the Rector hadn’t been up there with his feather duster for years.
Looking up, I was amazed at the 800 year old beams inside the spire. I climbed up as high as I could on the ancient beams so that I could take photographs overlooking the three bells and another photograph of the beams going up high into the spire.
When up amongst the bells I was very pleased that the ladies below didn’t decide to play a little joke on me and ring the bells -
Having achieved my mission, I was feeling quite pleased with myself … until I realised that I had to go back down again.
Looking down, I could see that I had climbed up much higher than I had realised, and it was apparent how extremely steep and narrow the steps were. Each individual step also seemed to slightly tip downwards – probably due to hundreds of years of wear.
Happily, I eventually made it back to ground level without incident. It was quite an experience and you can now see the fruits of my labours.