To see a larger view, click on the desired photo.

Please take a look at photographs in the other galleries to see additional examples of how preservation and restoration are accomplished.

Bell Towers

Meeting houses and churches are popular throughout New England. It's not uncommon to find repair issues within the bell towers due to their heighth and exposure to the elements. This, in and of itself, poses challenges when it comes to repair. Once the damage is assessed, the decision is made either to lower the tower to the ground or to build staging to access it.

The Second Congregational Church of East Alstead and the East Lempster Community Church are two examples of bell towers that underwent repairs to restore the original archictectural details.


For the Second Congregational Church of East Alstead, the decision was made to leave the bell tower intact and to build staging to make the necessary repairs. Once the decayed timbers were replaced, a new deck and rubber roof were installed. The entire upper roof had to be rebuilt due to extensive damage; thus, a new flat-seamed terned roof was installed.

Due to the extent of weather damage to the exterior of the bell tower, all archictectural details, including the cornice, mouldings, and board siding were replicated and replaced.

East Alstead Church Bell Tower—Main Project


East Alstead Church Bell Tower—Structural


Because several of the main tower posts were severely decayed, for purposes of economy and preservation of original fabric, epoxy repair was chosen. This entailed removal of all decayed material, forming a new tenon plug, and setting it in place with epoxy. Epoxy was also used to complete a structural splice on one of the upper plates.

Over time, water infiltration had caused extensive damage to one end of the central timber. As is typical, removal of this timber required disassembly of the structural elements of the bell tower's roof. The central timber, two of the valley rafters, and many of the purlins were replicated and replaced, as is illustrated in the accompanying photos.


East Alstead Church Bell Tower—The Bell

The bell and cradle were removed from the tower to allow for the extensive repairs. Upon assessment, it was decided to replicate the bell cradle rather than restore it. Traditional joinery techniques were utilized to replicate the bell cradle. In particular, the utilization of wedged half dovetail joinery added considerably to the strength of this framework.   For the new framework, white oak was used because of its strength and durability.

The cradle was lifted in two sections and was fully assembled within the bell tower. Lastly, the bell was raised and set into the new cradle, where it can now be heard ringing throughout the village.


East Lempster Community Church Bell Tower

Similar procedures regarding the structural elements were used when restoring the East Lempster bell tower. Timbers were replaced and epoxy was used where deemed necessary. About 95% of the exterior details were preserved utilizing traditional methodologies and epoxy technology.   The spires were disassembled. A hand-planed finish was applied to the original material. When deemed necessary, original components were replicated. To complete the project, the tower's festooned panels were stripped, repaired, consolidated, and painted.



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