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Bell Ringing

The ring of bells is housed in the church tower. The tower has four floors, the ground floor being the west door entrance. This was also the vestry prior to 1908.

The first floor is the Ringing Chamber and is accessed by a flight of steps. Some visitors might find this access a bit daunting but, with care, it can easily be achieved. The steps are a solid staircase ladder leading to a hatch. The hatch is quite heavy so we suggest that the first person going up should be confident and able to push the hatch upwards. There is also a handrail and a rope on the staircase that provides some support.

The second floor is the Silence Chamber, the third floor housing the ring of six bells.

The second and third floors are reached by a small stone spiral staircase from outside.

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The five largest bells were cast in 1802 by James Wells of Aldbourn and the treble (cast by John Taylor of Loughborough) was added to complete the ring in 1932.

Bells 4, 5 and the tenor are inscribed:

"JAs WELLS ALDBOURN FECIT 1802 JNo FIFIELD & Wm PERN Ch WARDENS"

Bells 2 and 3 have no inscription.

The treble was dedicated on Sunday 7th February 1932 and is inscribed:

"To the Glory of God. This bell was added to complete the peal of six, the gift of the Barron Bell Trust, 1932"

The bells swing in the unusual direction of north and south. This is the weakest direction for the tower but the tower does not move, as many do.

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The five largest bells were re-hung after the fire in 1909. All six bells were removed from the tower in 1981 and taken to Whitechapel Bell Foundry where they were tuned, re-hung with new fittings including roller bearings and quarter turned. They were re-dedicated during Matins on 22nd November 1981.

To mark the new millenium, the bells were rung at midnight on 31st December 1999 and again, with bells nationwide, at noon on 1st January 2000.

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Our bells are rung regularly by our own team of bell ringers and by visiting bands. Practice takes place on Saturday mornings between 10.00 am and 11.30 am.

We are always looking for new ringers. If you would like to join the team or visit us to find out more about this ancient skill, please join us on a Saturday morning.

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More information can be obtained from our Tower Captain, Paul Fitzgerald, telephone 01962-761959. You can be assured of a warm welcome.

Visiting teams wishing to use our bells should contact the Tower Secretary, Val Keel on 01962-760273

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Our current ringing team is:

Paul Fitzgerald (Tower Captain)

Elizabeth Barrett

Jan Barrett

Peter Barrett

Gerry Cornick

Sandy Fitzgerald

Paul Fitzgerald

Valerie Keel (Tower Secretary)

Christine Knights-Whittome

Michael Longy

Kate Rogers

Gratefully assisted by:

Coral Northeast

Edmund Wratten

Parts of No 4 bell ready to go to Whitechapel (Peter Barrett)

Lowering the wheel (Peter Barrett)

Martin and Edmund lifting No 4 bell (Peter Barrett)

Half Way There! (Gerry Cornick)

The new headstock (Gerry Cornick)

No 4 bell installed (Gerry Cornick)