As of February, 2013, the Steeple Bell of the First Parish Meeting House/Church is no longer rung for such events as weddings. In September striking the bell on the hour was also stopped because the bell cradle is deteriorating. In October steeplejack George Burgess of Rockport, ME secured the bell with rigging cable back to the main structure to keep it from toppling.
More extensive repairs will be needed in 2014, including replacement of the steeple roof & bell cradle, refurbishment of the bell strikers and restoration of the steeple clock faces & elements, (special considerations are required since the bell is rung hourly via the master clock). The Meeting House Bell has proclaimed many joyous events from local weddings to the end of the Civil War, peace on the Western Front in 1918, and V-E Day and V-J Day in 1945. It has tolled in honor and memory of Abraham Lincoln, President John F. Kennedy, the victims of 9/11 and Sandy Hook. It is bound in the fabric of our lives as it alerts us in Manchester-by-the-Sea of the hour.
The sound of the bell is missed by the townspeople and visitors, there have been a number of phone calls asking when the bell will chime again!
The town meeting house is a historical gem that graces the village green, the town gathers here not only for funerals and weddings but also for the Annual Friendship Tree program & lighting, and before the One Night in Bethlehem event.
Your financial support is always appreciated., our Annual Fund Drive is still ongoing. Angel donations to the strikers, clock faces or steeple repairs welcome. First Parish Church P.O. Box 187 Manchester, MA 01944