Questions surrounding the church bell that surfaced when people tried to sell it to a scrap metal yard recently remain unanswered.
Who does it belong to and where could it be?
Theft of church bells is growing
Numerous articles from different publications revealed that the theft of church bells is growing.
In an article by IOL, it was reported that a 200-year-old bell from St John the Baptist Anglican church in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal was also stolen.
Weekend Witness recently reported that three men tried to sell a church bell, seemingly of considerable age and historical significance, to Global Scrapyard in Mkhondeni, Pietermaritzburg, last week.
Weekend Witness spoke to Dunstan Farrell, an attorney from Durban, who shared information regarding a church bell that looks very similar to the missing mystery bell, which appeared to have been stolen years ago.
My great-grandfather Patrick Joseph Farrell, brought three of these bells into the country in 1930. He donated one to a Catholic church which was on his farm, named the Umsinsini mission, on the South Coast.
That was the first Catholic seminary run by a black priest in the southern hemisphere.
The bell was later found hanging in the Lutheran Church in Bryanston, Johannesburg.
He said he does not know how the bell got from KwaZulu-Natal to Johannesburg or where they were stolen from in the first place.
However, one of the men who runs a furniture factory in the area said a white man came and took the bell a few years ago.
Farrell said the bells must be worth a lot of money because they weigh over a ton and they were probably made by a proper bell maker.
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The bell is decorated with floral engravings and has writing engraved across the middle of its body. The engraving is in a foreign language.
In search of the Farrell bell
Ray Gooden, who has also been in search of the Farrell bell for research purposes described the bell as elusive. He said there is a Latin inscription on the bell which, when translated, reads:
Jeanne — this bell, donated by Patrick Farrell and dedicated to St Joan of Arc by the right Reverend Henri Delalle O.M.I. bishop of Tugga and vicar apostolic of Natal — was consecrated in the year 1930.
Weekend Witness visited the St Joan of Arc Catholic church in Ortmann Road, Pietermaritzburg to enquire about the church bell.
Pastor Aldo Sierra of the St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church said he was placed at St Joan of Arc in 2018 and he only knows the church bell they have at the moment.
Sierra said it might have been stolen years ago.
The question about the mysterious and elusive church bell still stands.
Who does it belong to and where could it be now? If you can shed any light on the matter email email@example.com