Refurbished church bells chime on considerately: praise be to Selectaglaze!


Selectaglaze have helped in noise reduction of church bells during a refurbishment of the church tower in Much Hadham, Hertfordshire

Much Hadham churchThe Grade I Listed St Andrew’s Church in Much Hadham, a village in Hertfordshire that dates back to Saxon times has recently refurbished its historic church bells. Part of the refurbishment was to improve the dilapidated sound insulation and thermal retention to the louvres in the church tower.

A significant reduction of the noise break-out of the church bells at the boundary of the church yard was required.  The 8 ringing bells in the tower were taken off-site to be refurbished and re-tuned. Prior to them being rehung in the existing frame with new headstocks, wheels and fitting, it was suggested that secondary glazing was fitted into the louvre openings in the tower. The existing louvres are 1450mm wide and 3850mm high.  Freeland Rees Roberts Architects and Main Contractor Hutton Construction called upon Selectaglaze; the UK’s leading designer and manufacturer of secondary glazing systems for a solution.

Glazing installation to reduce noise from church bellsLike many historic buildings, not all of the openings were plumb and true. Prior to the installation of the secondary glazing, timber frames were fitted to each opening to accept the secondary units ensuring they could support the weight of the new glazing of around 130-140kg. A 200mm cavity was used to enhance performance.

Selectaglaze installed 8 units in the 4 openings of the church’s bell tower; a combination of the Series 42 fixed light units mullion coupled with the Series 80 3-pane horizontal slider with 10.8mm thick laminated glass.

The fully assembled units could not be carried up the extremely narrow spiral stairs leading to the top of the tower. Therefore, an alternative solution was found, whereby the units were lifted 12 meters up with great care in sections via rope and pulley from the bottom of the tower up through a series of trapdoors across 3 floors.

church tower restorationThe restoration of the bell tower has been a huge success and all work, including the secondary glazing installation and refurbishment of the bells has been completed just in time for the bells to be rung for the centenary of the Armistice in November 2018.  The noise of the bells no longer disturbs the residents who live nearby the church. Thermally speaking, the U-values have also been improved and draughts in the bell tower have been practically eliminated.

 “We had a problem. The existing felt sound insulation fitted to the inside of the belfry louvers had become very dilapidated and needed to be replaced. The secondary glazing units can be opened for service ringing and closed for bellringers practice nights. They also allow natural light to flood into the belfry and permit a tremendous view across the village as well.” Nick Hughes, Hutton Construction.

Founded in 1966, Royal Warrant Holder Selectaglaze has undertaken a number of projects involving church refurbishment or change of use, including the Grade II Listed St Luke’s Chapel on the Oxford University Estate. Purpose designed secondary glazing can be unobtrusive, sympathetic to the building and, in addition to noise insulation, markedly improves the window’s thermal efficiency and increases levels of security.


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