Friday, 20 August 2010

A Bell Called Noel

St Paul's Church in Charlestown, near St Austell, Cornwall was built and consecrated in 1851. Originally there were just two bells; one of these was in a wooden tower. The spire was missing for over a century but in 1972 a fibreglass spire was added and six bells were hung. Cast by John Taylor of Loughborough, they are called: Morwenna; Petroc; Piran; Michael; Paul, and Noel. Noel Coward's maternal aunt had lived in Charlestown and so, as a boy, he had been sent off there for his summer holidays (one of the earliest surviving pieces of his writing, a letter home, dates from these times) and, when he had become famous much later on, out of nostalgia, he revisited the place. Just before the bells were cast, he was asked whether he would contribute to the cost and so he paid for the one that is named after him. When he died in 1973, they tolled it out to sea for him.

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