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The Bells at St Barnabas
St Barnabas Church has a bell tower which contains eight bells and has also housed a clock since the year 1904.
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The chief purpose of church bells is to call people to worship. The bells are also rung on special occasions to celebrate weddings and to mark funerals when a single bell is tolled.
Church bells are housed in what is called a belfry. Instead of windows with glass the belfry has openings (louvres) in the stone work so that the sound of the bells can be heard in the surrounding area.
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When St Barnabas church was built in 1849 it had a bell turret of stone terminating in a cone and containing one bell. This turret was removed in 1869 and taken to the church of St Michael’s and All Angels at Great Billington, where it can still be seen today. To replace the old bell turret an new bell tower was erected. Five bells which had been at St Mary’s church in Old Linslade were put into the new tower at St Barnabas along with a new bell, bringing the total number of bells in the new tower to six. A new bell was also bought for St Mary’s for use at funerals etc. The cost of the two new bells was 3 pounds, four shillings and 8 old pennies. The cost of bringing the bells from the foundry in London to St Barnabas was five shillings (about 25p).
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Later, in 1904 two further bells were added, bringing the total number in the tower to eight bells tuned to the key of A flat. The eight bells were recast at Whitechapel Bell Foundry in 1996. (Click here to see a video of the recasting of the bells.)
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The bells of St Barnabas were not rung during the Second World War, except in the case of an invasion by the enemy, which luckily never happened. They were rung in celebration at the end of the war and to celebrate other public occasions such as coronations, royal births and marriages.

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