Let the church bells ring at Westham

WHAT a joy it has been, after such a significant number of years during which ringing was forbidden, to hear again the bells ringing out from St Mary’s Church at Westham.

As at other churches and cathedrals throughout this land, and indeed many parts of the world, the purpose of the bells, in addition to giving audible pleasure, is to announce that here is a House of God and, at appropriate times, here a Christian church service is about to begin, to which everyone, no matter of which spiritual faith, or even no faith at all, is invited and will be welcome.

The decision to prevent the bells from being rung was, for whatever reason, a serious failure of Christian duty; a failure, it has to be said, which the Church of England at local archdeaconry and diocesan levels did not have the strength of will or the power to override or to countermand.

Hopefully, this sad ‘black-mark’ on the long history of the village and parish can now be set aside and, in due time, the bells may be brought once more to the important, pleasurable and regular task of letting the area know their real purpose.

May that purpose continue unabated over all the many years still to come.

Hugh Miller,