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‘Blessing of the Bells’ Ceremony at St Madoc’s Church, Llanmadoc and St Cadoc’s Church, Cheriton on Sunday, February 18th, 2018

On Sunday 18th February, the communities of Llanmadoc and Cheriton will be celebrating the successful completion of a project to repair the roof of St Cadoc’s Church, Cheriton and to repair and restore the bells and bell housings of the church and St Madoc’s Church, Llanmadoc. The Gower Society has been involved with the project from the outset and has been delighted to support financially the repair and restoration of the bells and bell housings of both churches, which were in a very poor condition and unable to be rung.

At St Cadoc’s Church, all the old iron straps and bearings have been replaced with stainless steel. The pulleys, rope and other fittings have also been replaced. Only the bell frame remains and, though very old, is probably not original. The bell at St Cadoc’s was cast by William Evans of Chepstow in 1736. To set the bell into its historical context, it was cast in the year in which James Watt, the famous instrument maker and engineer whose steam engine contributed significantly to the industrial revolution, was born.

The bell in St Madoc’s is even older dating from 1675. The bell frame was in such poor condition that the only part to remain is the bell. All other parts and fittings have been replaced. The bell is possibly cast by Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester who has been described as the ‘greatest bell founder of his age’. The bell was made when he was just 18 years old and is one of his earliest. As such it is historically very significant. To set this bell into its historical context, it was cast in the year that the foundation stone for the Royal Greenwich Observatory was laid in 1675.

The ‘Blessing of the Bells’ Ceremony will begin at St Madoc’s Church, Llanmadoc at 10.00am. Participants will then walk down through the village of Llanmadoc to St Cadoc’s, Cheriton where the Archbishop of Wales will conduct the blessing ceremony. After the ceremony both bells will be rung simultaneously. If the weather is inclement, those wishing to attend the ceremony can avoid a soaking by gathering at St Cadoc’s Church, Cheriton at 10.30 am.

Many people have been involved in this project, giving generously of their time and expertise to enable it to reach a successful conclusion. The Gower Society is delighted to have contributed financially to the future of two of Gower’s historically important churches, the bells of which, no longer silent, will ring out over this beautiful corner of north-west Gower for another 200 years.

(With acknowledgements to a report written by Ivor Williams, parishioner of Llanmadoc and Cheriton)

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