A forgotten machine that played a tune on the bells at the parish church in Farnham for 40 years has been restored to working order by Farnham Men in Sheds.

The chime machine, or carillon, was installed in 1960 and replaced a much earlier version that is now in storage at the Museum of Farnham.

It was abandoned high up in the church tower when the bells were moved to a new frame in 1998. Now painstakingly restored, the machine is exhibited in the church at ground level for all to see.

In July the church arranged a reception for the team from Men in Sheds to show their appreciation. The event was attended by the mayor of Farnham and representatives from the Museum of Farnham.

Speaking at the reception, Rev David Uffindell said “Everyone at St Andrew’s is thrilled to see this fascinating part of the town’s heritage brought back to life.” 

Ken McGowan, facilitator for Farnham Men in Sheds, said: “It’s been something else! We’ve really enjoyed the mechanics of it as many of us have a background in engineering and were able to bring that to the project. We are so pleased with it.”

The chime machine was also demonstrated during an illustrated talk titled Three hundred years of striking bells with hammers as part of Farnham’s Heritage Open Days in September.

The bells at St Andrew’s cannot be rung at present because of concerns that the force of a swinging bell will worsen the crack. But the chimes can still be heard because the bells do not move when they are chimed so there is no risk of putting extra strain on the tower.