Today, the villagers of Medmenham launch the “Peal Appeal”, a fundraising activity to restore the bells and bell frame of St. Peter & St. Paul’s church. (quick link – click here to donate!)
The “Peal Appeal” is looking to raise £21,000 to fund the restoration and rehanging of the bells for stationary chiming. Only then will the bells of Medmenham ring out again at regular services, weddings and other such occasions across the village.
The church is situated at the junction of Ferry Lane and the main road between Marlow and Henley. The church dates from the 12th century, although it is thought to date back as far as 640 AD when the missionary bishop Birinus built it as a wooden construction on the site. It was subsequently rebuilt in stone 500 years later under the patronage of Hugh de Bolebec (1100 – 1165).
“Since the 12th century our church has been at the centre of the community in Medmenham and has welcomed villagers and visitors from all over the country” said Stephen Southgate, Rector of St. Peter & St. Paul’s. “With the Medmenham ‘Peal Appeal’, we aim to restore the bells to their former state, to sound out once again to the Glory of God across the parish and beyond”.
The tower and chancel, which were added around 1400-50 during a religious revival following the Black Death, house three bells cast by Knight of Reading. There was an old tradition recorded in 1717 that the fourth bell was sold to help pay the ransom for Richard I when taken prisoner on his return from the holy lands.
“Given the age of the bell frame in the tower, the unusually fine design and execution and the fact it remains as built with no obvious signs of reconstruction or alteration we are of the opinion that this is of great national importance. There are other frames of similar or even earlier date around the country but there are very few indeed as fine as that at St. Peter & St. Paul’s church, Medmenham” said Andrew Nicholson, Nicholson Engineering, Church Bellhangers of Distinction.
To make a donation to the “Peal Appeal” visit: