Cartmel was about to hear a harmonious blend of the old and the new when the Priory bells rang out in mid-January 1988.

Four new bells had been hoisted 80ft into the priory bell tower along with two old bells which had been re-tuned.

The new peal of six would hang with four original Cartmel bells cast between 1661 and 1729.

A new frame had been built to house the old bells. They would now be rung only for special occasions.

Cartmel's vintage bells had been rung on Christmas Day in 1987 for the first time in eight months.

The four new bells were cast in Holland and were expected to last 300 years.

Weighting up to 12cwt, they were cast in a special bell metal alloy of copper and tin.

Replacement of the bells and fitting work was likely to cost £30,000.

Churchwarden Fred Perry said: "The whole operation of hoisting has gone very well. There have been no major snags."

There was still a lot of work ahead as the bells were fitted.

The Civic Trust was expecting numerous visitors at its buildings during Heritage Open Days in 1995.

Opening up some hidden treasures of the country's monuments was planned.

It meant there would be a guided tour of Cartmel Priory with a difference.

Visitors would be able to wander between the walls of the 12th century priory.

They would also be able to go up the bell tower.

The priory already attracted more than 100,000 visitors a year and staff were expecting a boost in number.

There would be exhibitions of paintings and ancient books, as well as one covering the life of William Marshall, who founded the priory and the village that grew up around it.

Heritage Open Days would also include access to other sites in the area, including Thwaite Builders Yard in Coniston. Visitors would be able to watch display of woodworking joinery and lime slaking.

At Bowness Pier the fully refurbished Victorian lake steamer Tern would be open for coffee.