The tenor bell at St Leonard’s, Over Whitacre, was tolled on Sunday 2nd June, 2019 to mark the occasion of re-dedication of family graves. The church was packed for a simple service of remembrance led by Marjorie Walton. The bell was tolled from 10.45 until 11.00am. Tolling is ringing slowly and stately a single bell. Usually the tenor it is associated with funerals and remembrance.
Bit of a mammoth afternoon fitting the wheel. Found of course that the lower half of the wheel had come off the bell easily as it was shattered. There was not enough room to get it back on. Had to fit the top half of the wheel and then manually ring the bell up by standing on the frame similar to the way "East Bergholt" bells are rung. With the bell up it was easy to fit the lower half of the wheel. Wheel fitted like a glove with all holes lining up lovely.
The wheel has had two spokes replaced and some other repairs to make it good again. Remarkably only the two smashed clean through spokes needed replacing. The shorter spoke was made from a suitable length of old desk which was the same weight colour and texture but the longer spoke was made from a length of ash. The mortise joints were machine cut and hand finished. Even some of the original dowels were reused and others were made out of the wood taken from the damaged spokes. Some damage has been glued up but the wheel is now back in good shape and ready to give good service again.
Second bell pulled off and must have smashed the stay - unfortunately this dropped between the frames and stopped the treble bell dead in the down position smashing the wheel. Had to remove the wheel through the middle floor doors which have never been used since the floor was installed forty years ago. Wheel parts then went down the spiral stairs for assessment. Will need one new horizontal spar and one spoke on the west side.
An unfortunate but quite catastrophic occurrence.
The seconds stay is perhaps the easier fix!
Once again we managed to welcome 2019 with bells. This year we had a few more than usual which allowed us to ring some nice rounds and some methods too. For once we made the effort to properly muffle the old year out and then after a swift change welcome the new year with open ringing.
Tonight we rang all three bells for the Carol Service. Ringing for the first time in two years the front two bells especially took a bit of time to "warm" up. Xavier managed to ring here for the first time contrasting Dick who was also ringing. Nearly eighty years separate them - not many places where you can witness this now.
Busy practice night - whilst ringing some plain hunt we had five people sitting out all who have started learning this year. Two of these ringers can ring competently in rounds and the other three can all just handle a bell on their own. It is a very nice thing to have almost as many learners in the tower as ringers. Any more volunteers?
On the exact anniversary of the 1918 armistice our tower was full. Half muffled ringing this morning and then open ringing as part of the "Nation Remembers" event. This morning ringing was half muffled in respect for those who have died whilst this evening ringing was open as a celebration. Our two ringing remembers recruits both rang for both events and thus fulfil the aims of part of the 1400 recruits to replace the 1400 bellringers lost in WW1.
Our two learners Sharon and Xavier have received their badges and certificates this week as part of the commemorations around the Armistice 2018 - A Nation's Thank you. Our ringing is registered with this nationwide celebration and is also posted on the central ringing councils BellBoard list of events planned.
The 11th of November is getting closer and both our learners are now able to ring independently in the basic ringing of rounds keeping their bell reasonably in the right place and independent of help and supervision. Quite a task especially which needs a proper well done if you seem them in person. Both received their exclusive badge pictured here.
Bit is a practice tonight. Our two usual learners, Sharon and Xavier are now ringing in rounds a lot more confidently and after a bit of a break, Sean returned who quickly picked up where he had left off. It was also nice to welcome two new people who had a go on the ropes for a very first time and have promised to return.
St Giles Bellringers
The trials and tribulations of a small village bellringing band.