The joint on which each clapper swings in its staple bolt has been oiled. Several clappers were noisy, and the 3’s in particular groaned loudly enough to be audible in the ringing chamber, though we didn’t realize it was the clapper. All are quieter now, though the 2, 3, and 5 will need more attention, possibly with something like WD-40 that can be sprayed more effectively into the joint.
Oiling the clapper joints is not difficult but it is dirty and messy. The space for the smaller bells is so narrow it is difficult to squeeze in to get under the bell and reach up; the larger bells have plenty of side-to-side space, but are so close to the floor it is difficult to slide under them. Ordinary engine oil is used, and drops of it seem to get everywhere, particularly on the person wielding the pump oiler.
From this perspective it was obvious why the bells should never be left up, particularly during a rain: water gets in them and the bolts rust. The worst rust was inside the 3, and not surprisingly its clapper groaned loudest of the eight. Depending on what further investigation shows, it may be necessary to replace some or all of the four bell bolts supporting the bell, and possibly also the staple bolt itself, which would have to be ordered from Whitechapel. Several other bells show rust inside, though the 3 has the worst.