Centuries-old bell finds new home in Danville church
By Kimberly Chua
Posted: 08/12/2010 11:22:21 AM PDT; Updated: 08/12/2010 12:06:06 PM PDT
DANVILLE — After more than 30 years, a centuries-old bell from England has found its permanent home at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church.
A 20-foot steel tower was installed to house the 200-pound bronze bell Thursday morning at the church on Diablo Road.
“It will give an opportunity to call to worship and to call those who may not already worship with us,” said parishioner Ron Evens, adding that the church has been without a bell since before he started attending mass at St. Timothy’s more than 20 years ago.
When the church’s current building was completed in 1972, Southern Pacific donated a railroad bell to hang from its spire. However, a leaky skylight caused the railroad bell to rain rusty water onto the altar, and the bell was removed and donated to the Museum of the San Ramon Valley.
Evens said plans for the $50,000 tower “had been simmering for some time” after he and his wife, Joan, had heard about an old bell sitting in storage.
Rev. William Goodall, who founded St. Timothy’s in 1953, returned to his native England in the late 1970s. There he acquired a bell from the Binham Priory, one of many countryside village churches that were being decommissioned at the time.
Goodall donated the Binham Priory bell — which is believed to date to the early 1800s or before — to St. Timothy’s in 1978. Until recently, the 18-inch bell resided in a shipping crate in a church closet.
The bell was shipped off to the Verdin Company of Cincinnati, Ohio — which has been involved in all aspects of the manufacturing of bells, bell towers and carillons since 1842 — for the construction of the tower. The installation on Thursday was supervised locally by Cleary Brothers Landscaping.
The bell was dusted off just in time for one of the parish’s largest annual celebrations.
Evens said he is excited to have the tower in place for St. Timothy’s “Welcome Home Sunday” mass on Sept. 12.
“We all come together to celebrate our ministries and give a kick off to the Sunday schools and everything,'” he said. “It’s sort of a ‘Let’s get started, summer’s over and it’s time to get back to work.”