Bellringing

Bellringing

www.stmarysringers.org.uk

We have a full and active band of bellringers, who meet at 7-00 pm till 9-00 pm every Friday evening to practise, everyone is most welcome to visit.

Church bell-ringing is a thoroughly enjoyable, ancient and traditional activity.

Our bells have rung out over the town for more than 200 years proclaiming the Christian message to the people of Rushden.

To maintain the tradition and keep it healthy we are always looking for new recruits. If you are interested in joining contact the Tower Captain – Brenda Dixon on 01933-358982

A brief history of St Marys Bells

Originally there were five bells at St Mary’s which were cast in 1794 by Robert Taylor of St Neots.  The lightest weighing 7 cwt and the heaviest 12 cwt.

Whether people were not happy with the sound – because they were in a minor key – or they didn’t sound grand enough for the church, or they just wanted an extra bell we don’t know, but after 25 years Robert Taylor cast a new heavier bell in 1818 to add to the existing bells to make a ring of 6.  The new bell weighed 18 cwt and is the tenor of the current ring.

Bell ringing customs at this time included a bell rung daily at noon; a pancake bell rung on Shrove Tuesday and a gleaning bell rung during harvest.

The death knell consisted of three tolls for a male and two for a female.

The must have been quite a tradition of ringing here because we know that in 1885 a peal lasting 3 hours was rung. In 1891 it was proposed to augment the bells from 6 to 8, but this did not come to fruition for some considerable time.

As time went by these 6 bells became more and more difficult to ring; two bells cracked and in 1918 ringing ceased apart from some chiming – this is when the bells are only swung through a small arc instead of turning full circle.

In 1952 major work was required on the spire and with the impending Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, there was considerable renewed interest in getting the bells ringing again.  Because of the state of the bells and the fittings it was clear that drastic action needed to be taken.

John Taylor and Sons of Loughborough were approached and a scheme was devised whereby the bells would be re-hung with all new fittings in a new frame repositioned in the tower; the cracked bells were re-cast and two new lighter bells (trebles) would be added to complete the octave.

An appeal for the £3,500 required for the spire and the bells was launched and the money was raised in just 100 days!  The work was put in hand and completed ready for the dedication on 30th May 1953, when the 8 bells rang out over the town for the first time.  All to coincide with the Coronation.

Since then there have been very few times when the bells have not rung out over the town before Sunday services.

For some years the bell-ringers had toyed with the idea of having a first floor ringing chamber, which would release space in the base of the tower for other uses, and having had a legacy for this purpose; to celebrate 50th anniversary of the augmentation to 8, this was agreed by the PCC.

Details of our bells:-

Bell                        Note                       Inscription

Treble                   E                              Bells rehung Coronation Elizabeth II, 2nd June 1953. 

                                                              John Taylor, Loughborough

 

2                              D #                        Spire and rehanging £3500 subscribed in 100 days.

                                                              Deus Laudatus. 

                                                              Rector E A Green;  Wardens F E Andrews and G E V Fleeman

                                                              Inspirer Charles Clifton

 

 3                             C #                        1794 Recast 1953;

                                                              John Taylor, Loughborough

 

 4                              B                           1794

 

 5                              A                           1794 Recast 1952; God Save the King;

                                                               John Taylor, Loughborough

 

 6                              G #                        1794 Robert Taylor, St Neots fecit.

                                                                John Achurch & Thos Smith, Churchwardens

 

7                              F #                           Robert Taylor, S. Neots (1794);

                                                                John Achurch & Thos Smith, Churchwardens

 

Tenor                    E                               I Smith & Edward Wood C W;

Robert Taylor and Son, founders, S. Neots 1818

 

Belfry Gossip and sound recordings of our bells and much more can be found by visiting www.stmarysringers.org.uk