Restoring Henslow’s Bells was the first and major part of Hitcham’s Tower Project managed by the Friends of All Saints Church Hitcham. Thanks to a £100,000 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and generous support from a number of other charities and donors, the project has restored and rehung the existing six bells which date from 1697 and had been unsafe for decades, adding two new bells to give a peal of eight bells.

Follow this link to watch our video record of the project:  Church Tower Project

The rare wooden C16th bell frame has been preserved in situ. The organ was moved from under the tower arch, restored and rebuilt in the north aisle. This made space for the new ringing gallery under which a room was made in the base of the tower. This new tower room is separated from the nave by an oak panelled partition with double doors. The layout and cost management dictated that the work was done from the top of the tower working down. Thanks to a grant of £68,293 from Viridor Credits through the Landfill Communities Fund, in 2020/21 an equal access WC and servery was then constructed within the tower room, dubbed the ‘Evolootion’ of Hitcham church, the lights were also upgraded to LED fittings and a set of folding conference chairs purchased to complete the second part of the Tower Project and make the building much more flexible for wider community use.

There is now a cctv system to enable people to view the bells and the old frame without climbing the 61 steps up the tower and a museum quality permanent exhibition on Rev. Professor John Stevens Henslow, our most famous rector who was Charles Darwin’s mentor. A man of regional, national and international importance, you can read more about him here.

The project was launched in September 2017, the £340,000 needed was raised in just 2 years and the work completed in March 2021 despite the COVID pandemic. Volunteers put in over 2000 hours of work to reduce costs. Thank you to everyone who made this tremendous project happen.