What fun we had with a full tower enabling us to ring on all eight bells for service touch with Pamela, Andrew and Kemp in town!
Hand Bell news: When in town Kemp offers hand bell ringing class for those interested after service.
News from Pamela: news from back home (England) is that they rang half-muffled at the Worcester Cathedral for this Remembrance Day on the minor (back) 10. Worcester has the only Harmonic minor 10 in the world which requires both a flat six and a sharp five. The ringer of the latter can be seen ringing outside the main circle and slightly behind the eight, which is no. six of the back 10. This is somewhat of a challenge! All other minor tens in the world apparently have only the flat six, not the sharp five which makes them ‘Aeolian’ minor rings. See link below which shows that “the sound quality is hair-on-the-back-of-neck-raisingly good!”
We had a lovely practice session with 5 local ringers and 1 guest from England – Jill, who rings at the All Hallows Church of Twickenham. A fitting post Halloween visit of sorts! This original tower houses a peal of ten bells, including some of those that were originally hung at the St Dionis Backchurch, before being relocated to Twickenham. The church has a fascinating history and just inside the tower there is a massive oak gateway which was preserved after the Great Fire of London in 1666 and is decorated with skulls and crossbones.
Thanks Pamela! Check it out – amazing and lots of info to soak up.
|To the Miami Ringers: The September issue of Ringing Round Devon, the newsletter of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers, has a nice piece about a visit to Miami at the end of July by a group of Devonshire ringers. I thought the Miami ringers might enjoy seeing it. It’s on Page 12 of their September 2017 Newsletter below. From Quilla Roth, DC|
This charming and historic church “Saint Andrews Parish, Witham on the Hill” is where our dear Pamela rings locally when home in Lincolnshire, England.
“The bells, a very fine six, are two floors higher in the bell chamber, where you see the louvred arched windows. The treble is cast from metal of the bells of Peterborough Cathedral which were removed in the mid-19th century as they were shaking off the fine west front. There is a much lighter ring of 12 installed there now (the cathedral, that is) and it’s where I used to ring on a Sunday morning for service… it’s a 200-step climb to the ringing room.
The original Witham church tower collapsed in 1736 during ringing practice. The ringers had paused for a pint at the pub, then across the road and decided to stay for a bit before resuming ringing. That saved their lives, as it was during that second pint that the tower collapsed. Who says drink is bad for your health!
The five bells were saved and rehung and in 1831 (and again in 1962) they were recast and it was at this point (1831) that the new treble was added, the donor being the local squire and resident of Witham Hall, William Augustus Johnson (who, just as a point of interest, had fought in the Peninsular War). Nonetheless, he was an eccentric anti-monarchist who had the following inscription cast into it:
Twas not to prosper pride or hate
William Augustus gave me
But peace and joy to celebrate
And call to prayer to Heav’n to save ye;
Then keep the terms, and e’er remember
May 29 ye must not ring
Nor yet the 5th of each November,
Nor on the Crowning of a King
May 29 was Charles II’s birthday, Nov 5th was the date of the foiled “gunpowder plot.”
To the left of the external door to the tower is where people put their loved ones’ ashes and to the right of it is a bench I donated in memory of my parents, with their names engraved on the back. It means that Ringers waiting to ring for a wedding have somewhere to sit, as do people wanting to visit where they put ashes nearby.”
What a treat to have 8 bells a ringin’ yesterday thanks to our local band members: Marguerite, Judy, Robert, Bobbie, Jody and our guest visitors from the UK: Maddy, Verity and their Mom Julia.
On Sunday’s the Brett girls first ring at St Michael’s the Archangel (1821) in Devon by the sea, and then walk 10 minutes (rain or shine) over to St James to ring again. They spoke of the St James (oldest building in Teignmouth) bells having to be rung from the ground level which makes the ropes so unweildy that they call their ringing sessions “Battle the Bungy!” Imagine.
Interesting read on the closing of the foundry that cast the Miami bells. The bells depicted above are in the belfry of St Michael’s Church and are more than 250 years old. They have endured war, earthquakes and hurricanes. Where will bells go to be repaired now?