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Special service marks the restoration of Cathedral’s full ring of bells

On Monday 9 January during a special service of Evensong, the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, dedicated, baptised and blessed two newly re-cast bells, which have recently returned to Southwark Cathedral from the foundry, and re-dedicated the other ten bells.

Following a practice which has taken place in this country since mediaeval times, the two re-cast bells were baptised, named and anointed before being raised into the tower and restored to their places. The seventh bell was dedicated in memory of Colin Slee OBE, former Dean of Southwark, and given the name ‘Nicholas’ (of which ‘Colin’ is a diminutive) and the tenor bell was dedicated in memory of James I of Scotland and his descendants and also those who died in World War I and given the name ‘Andrew’ for St Andrew, Patron Saint of Scotland.

Harking back to a further mediaeval tradition, the bells were ‘dressed’ for the service in the same way that a child would be dressed in a christening gown. The artist Angela Wright,was invited to echo this tradition by producing a river of wool with pools around the larger bells. Some of this wool was used in Angela’s 2014 Lent Installation for the Cathedral, ‘Forty Days’, so the bells will not be the only thing returning for the service.

During his sermon (which can be found here) the Dean of Southwark, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn talked about the process of restoring the bells and thanked all the people that had made it possible.