Ancient buildings fascinate most of us, especially when we reflect on how the buildings were made with primitive tools. It speaks to the ingenuity of humans, their determination to overcome adversity, and their perseverance to see a building project to the end, even it if takes decades to complete. Many of the architectural features we see today and on ancient buildings were built for a distinct purpose. Today, we’ll take a look at one of them: belfries. We’ll also take a look at how roofs play an important role in belfries.
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What Is a Belfry?
A belfry is the top part of a bell tower that houses bells. Bells have been around for over 4000 years and were first invented by the ancient Chinese. Bells traditionally have been used for communication, tolling to tell people to gather for church, for an emergency, or when someone died. Bells also rang to mark the passage of time; hence, the initiation of the bell being rung one time for one o’clock, two times for two o’clock, etc. Bells were also important in religion, as priests wore bells on their robes according to the book of Exodus in the Christian Bible. Bells are used by Buddhists in religious ceremonies, and a bell hangs outside most Hindu temples. Bells announced the hour of bathing for the ancient Romans, and they were hung on sheep and cattle so they could be found if they became lost. Eventually, a tradition began for bells to be rung at weddings, which symbolized a blessing upon the newly-married couple and much happiness.
The bell tower was built in order to house bells and to have the noise carry farther since the higher the bells, the greater the noise will travel. Historically, most bell towers are attached to churches, having been adopted into the Christian community around 400 AD to call people to worship, as well as to be used for community purposes. Perhaps the most famous bell tower is the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which broke ground in the 12th century. It is a free-standing bell tower, meaning it is not attached to another building, such as a church.
Roofing and Bell Towers
Since bell towers and belfries are so tall, they posed (and continue to pose) a huge structural and construction challenge to builders. Almost all bells are made of metal and are large, which is a challenge in and of itself to hang it. Once hung, it has to be enclosed. With the desire to have the best church (which was common in the Middle Ages), bell towers became a place to become ornate and intricate. Hence, there is no universal design, and odds are every bell tower you see today will be unique.
The challenge for roofers in building a bell tower is to keep open space to allow the sound of the bell to ring out, but to provide enough support from the rafters so it won’t collapse. The key is using heavy, think wood (steel for modern bell towers) to hold the bell. Furthermore, being metal, bells are susceptible to the elements, which can rust the bell. However, most bells began to be made in bronze, which luckily requires little maintenance. That being said, the bell tower itself is also susceptible to deterioration and requires regular maintenance to keep its sound ringing.
Maintaining bell towers is very similar to roof maintenance. With regular roof inspections and roof repairs, belfries can last a very long time.
Why Choose Texas Star Roofing in Dallas
Texas Star Roofing in Dallas offers the best roofing services around, from residential roof replacements to commercial roof repairs. Our mission is to fit you with the right roof for your home or business. While many bell towers are usually maintained by specialized companies, Texas Star Roofing acknowledges that maintaining a bell tower is very similar to maintaining your home or business. With regular roof inspections and roof repair, you can expect your residential or commercial roof to last for years to come.
In the event you do need a new roof, perhaps due to storm damage or age, give Texas Star Roofing in Dallas a call. We offer the best roofing materials to suit your style and needs. We can help you decide which roofing material is the best for your needs. We put our customers first, and if you have any questions, we’re here to help. Contact us today for your free roofing estimate!