The bell, which was taken down in the Easter holiday, has been restored to its former glory and was recently re-dedicated by the Bishop of Chichester, Rt. Rev’d Dr Martin Warner, at a special service in the Chapel. For almost 400 years, the bell had hung high above the roof of the tiny chapel where, after many years exposed to the elements, the bell fittings were in urgent need of restoration.
St Peter’s is one of the shepherds’ churches on the Sussex Downs and was built to serve the local farming community. Today, it serves as chapel to the independent day and boarding school which has been based on the estate since 1946.
It is in regular use by the College for worship and has been used several times in recent years for confirmation services – and even the occasional wedding. The work not only means the bell is once more sounding out from St Peter’s as pupils make their way to chapel for worship but the newly installed electronics enable the bell strike the hour during daytime.
Graffham parish priest Rev’d Stephen Gray, who is also Chaplain to Seaford College, said: “The restoration of the bell honours the history and spiritual heritage of this sacred Church.”
Grants towards the cost of the work, which totalled £6,500, came from Old Seafordians, the Sussex Churches Bell Restoration Fund and cash raised during a sponsored run across the South Downs by six staff and five students of the College.
Seaford College acting headmaster John Green said: “The chapel forms an important and integral part of life at Seaford College and it is wonderful to see – and hear – the bell once more in active daily operation. It reminds us of not only of our heritage but also of the College’s strong Christian foundations.”