Saturday, 25 June 2016

A Church Bell Tower

This is the tiny spiral staircase which leads up to the bell tower in St John the Baptist Church at Belleau.

It was a heritage day,  and for once the bell tower door was open for those people brave/fit/foolish enough to climb up.  

Being foolish, I couldn't resist the opportunity.   I quite forgot that I am not particularly great with heights.

The doorway was tiny, the staircase tinier still, and very dark, apart from a small amount of light from the one or two minute windows.    The steps were perhaps four inches deep at the widest, possibly fifteen inches in length.  I began to wonder what I was doing there, when I was fumbling around in the dark areas, feeling for the steps, and finding that my fingers were rifling through bird or bat droppings.   Lovely!

This is what I saw at the top, the structures holding the three bells.   One enormous bell dates from the 14C and another from the 16C.   They were restored last year and are now rung for weddings, special occasions and services.

Today was special, members of the public were allowed to 'have a go'.   Even in untrained hands the sound was rather lovely.

By the time I had taken a couple of snaps of as much of the bells as I was able to see I was beginning to get a little anxious about how to make the return journey down that tiny spiral staircase.

I'm cross with myself for wasting such an opportunity to have a really good look around.   If there is another heritage day I shall go armed with a torch and a tiny camera - for the one I had with me was far too cumbersome.

It is a really interesting little church, I have always enjoyed dropping in there, for a breather, when I am out on one of my route marches.   I didn't take many photographs today, I didn't want the flash to irritate the other visitors, especially when I can simply cut through a couple of fields, a farmyard and be at the churchyard within ten or fifteen minutes.

I'll call in and take fresh photographs, then I'll share some of the history of the place - and for such a small church, it has a lot of history.  

Many thanks to everyone who worked so hard to arrange it all.   It was all very much appreciated, everyone enjoyed it.


  1. wow... that's a view you don't see everyday. I may ask them to open it just for us and then we can do a private tour!

    1. Hi Dom, If you ask Michael, I'm sure he would let you have access - just remember, there are no views (the windows are too high) and the staircase is tiny, with room for just one at the top. I'd worry that Andy would get stuck!xx

  2. I've been up a couple of bell towers and found it interesting but like yours they were a hard climb

    1. Hello Bill, This is the first bell tower I have been lucky enough to visit, in future I shall be better prepared. It was great seeing the bells in situ. I know of one bell tower in the county where they sold the bells to restore the bell tower.. As I walked home from the church, walking through long grasses and bright poppies, the bells were ringing out across the fields. It was wonderful.


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