AN HISTORIC bell is back where it belongs.
A 14th century bell has been reinstated at Bell Court shopping centre during a special ceremony attended by past and present town mayors.
Originally cast in 1320, the bell is believed to have hung in the Stratford market where it sounded the start of trading to the town. The 700 year-old bell is now hanging in the timber frame at the High Street entrance to the centre, along with a new plaque.
Toby Saggers, asset manager, at UK & European Investments, which holds the lease to Bell Court, said: “For many years this historic bell has been linked to shopping in Stratford.
“Between 1821 and 1920, it is believed to have hung in the timber framed Market Cross in Bridge Street where it sounded the start of trading to the people of the town.
“Since 1975, the bell has been housed at Bell Court and we’re extremely proud to welcome it back to its rightful home. It will now welcome all new visitors to Bell Court and will oversee the on-going changes as more new shops and restaurants open at Bell Court in the coming months.”
The ceremony recreated a similar unveiling which took place at the former Bell Court development 30 years ago.
Both were attended by Dr Geoffrey Lees, now aged 91, who was mayor of Stratford in 1978 and again a decade later, as well as musicians from Snitterfield Handbell Ringers.
Also in attendance was Coun Juliet Short who was mayor in 2000, and helped ensure the safety of the bell, along with current mayor Victoria Alcock.
Coun Alcock said: “It has been a pleasure to welcome this beautiful bell back to Stratford. It’s wonderful to see it reinstated at Bell Court, becoming part of both the town’s history and future.”
A campaign is currently underway, led by Coun Short, to make the bell chime once again.