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The importance of bell tower maintenance

The value of a routine bell tower inspection or annual servicing cannot be overstated. Many bells lay idle for extended periods or are exposed to inclement weather and seasonal fluctuations. Birds, bats, and termites may cause additional harm to the structural integrity of a bell tower, too. 

Rusted bell and tower supports are in need of a bell tower inspection and maintenance

Image: Excessive moisture within a bell tower in Korčula, Croatia, has resulted in the oxidation of the wheel and supports, which are now bespeckled in reddish-brown iron oxide (rust).

It’s important to be familiar with the condition of your bell and its fittings because worn-out parts, rusty mechanisms, or rotting wood can pose serious safety concerns. Imagine thousands of pounds of solid bronze crashing several stories to the ground. Let’s take proactive measures to prevent that. If it’s been a while since someone’s peeked into the belfry, bell tower maintenance is probably long overdue.

Section image: A bell tower with bells hung for English-style change ringing exhibits signs of oxidation and grime buildup.

What you learn from a bell tower inspection

We regularly guide bell tower managers through the process of inspection and assessment by visiting sites ourselves or recommending one of our trusted partners across the nation. 

A bell tower inspection typically includes a deep-dive into the history and provenance of the bell, a complete tower and instrument assessment, tuning report, detailed recommendations for repair or maintenance, and a quote to complete any needed work – whether that entails repairs from a licensed and insured tower contractor, or complete bell restoration work at a foundry.

While the safety and security of a bell tower is the prime motivation for a site inspection, you’ll also benefit from a greater understanding of the bell itself. This includes a determination of a bell’s:

  • Age, Weight, and Tone
  • Provenance and Originating Bell Foundry
  • Any Inscriptions or Decorations
  • Casting Flaws
  • Cracks or Signs of Wear and Damage

Many bells have given service in more than one tower. Through historical and archival research, a campanologist can help you track down your bell’s unique story, including any previous owners or installations.

We love helping people learn more not only about their bells, but also how to better appreciate the history that hangs in bronze above us. Equally as gratifying is the knowledge that a bell is safely secured and fit to ring for years to come. That’s the satisfaction that comes from a bell tower inspection.

Section image: Bells hung for swinging show signs of wear at the point where the clapper strikes the sound bow.