The historic church of Kirk will lose its bells

A SET of eight bells in a historic Anglican church building are to be removed.

The Diocese of Blackburn has requested permission to remove them from St James’s Church, known as Kirk’s Church.

The building is now redundant and is being converted into a community center.

The bells are to be moved to St Cuthbert’s in Over Kellet near Lancaster, if Hyndburn planners allow their removal from the building in St James Road, Church.

Another older and rarer Flemish bell is to be kept at the Kirk Church which was built in stages between 1148 and 1860.

Statements in support of the application for listed building permission state: “There is currently no general public access to the church bells as the existing access is by way of a narrow spiral staircase in which the steps are very uneven and dangerous.

“It would be dangerous and a serious health and safety risk to encourage greater access to the bells in their current position.

“It seems there is no likelihood that the bells will ring again for public worship as the church is now closed, and it would be best if the bells could be moved to another parish church where they can be reassigned to their original purpose.

Inside Saint-Jacques Church

“The bells in Kirk St James’s Church were not designed specifically for this church and are a relatively recent introduction.

“Their relocation to another parish church in the Diocese of Blackburn would result in no loss to heritage significance.”

The current ‘Warner’ bells were introduced to Kirk Church in 1991 after its previous set was damaged beyond repair in a fire in 1983.

The supporting documents state: “It is obvious that the trust proposing to adapt the building for community use does not wish to keep them for ringing.

“Instead, they plan to turn the bell room in the tower into a café.

“A new home for bells is available at St Cuthbert’s in Over Kellet.

“It will be seen that the current Warner bells in Kirk’s Church were not cast for St James’s and have only been there for 30 years.

“The Flemish bell of 1537, on the other hand, has long been associated with Santiago and it is appropriate that it be kept there.

“If the eight ringing bells are transferred to Over Kellet, they will continue to contribute to the life of the church.

“They will be in a place where they are wanted, rather than hidden where no one can see or hear them.”

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