The Church Bells

This memory by Maurice Pearce was taken from the June 1985 Orwell Bulletin

I was interested to read of the making and hanging of the new bell. I remember when the other five bells were rehung, I was fifteen at the time. The bells came back from Loughborough after being recast. It took the village people about ten years to get the money to make

took about ten years to get the money

the tower safe and to rehang the bells. This was raised from fetes, whist drives, dances and humble sales etc. Two men, I remember their Christian names, Amos and Herbert, who I knew well because they lodged with us at Fisher's Lane and my father and I helped them to pull the bells up the tower and hang them and bolt them down in place. With all the floors out and standing on a small platform right on the top, it looked a long way down and, seeing those bells standing in the belfry, they looked so small it seemed we could have carried them up. I remember the Rev. E. J. White who was Rector at the time saying, “Will they be ready for Christmas?” They were and ringing. It

"Will they be ready for Christmas?"

must have seemed wonderful if there was anyone that could remember them ringing before to hear them rung again. The ringers came from, I think, Great St Mary’s, Cambridge, as none of us could ring them properly. We had that to learn and soon we had a team and more. I think the people in the village must have got a bit fed up with us clanging them for we were a long time before we could follow one another. We practised two or three times a week but we did deaden the sound by putting leather covers on the clappers but these did wear fairly quickly. After about a year we did a lot better and we were able to ring them for the midnight service in 1931. If I remember right, the ringers then were H. Wilsher, E. Wilsher, A. Jude, A. Pearce, W. Wilkins, Len Miller, R. Breed, W. Carbonell and myself. It only needed five of these but we took it in turns at ringing. But war came along and bells could not be rung by order, only as a warning of invasion.

After the war, the team was broken up, I’m sad to say and the bells lay idle until a new lot of ringers started and I am glad to say are

After the war the bells lay idle

doing a lovely job of it. I know this new bell with make all the difference to the ringing. By the way, No.1 or the smallest bell, when it went away, was found to have a small crack in it so it had to be recast and returned but we all thought it was a bit high pitched. I doubt whether it was tuned to a few hundredths of a semitone but, again, that was only our opinion.

Carry on, bell ringers, you are doing a lovely job and thank you, Mrs Perryman, for the lovely report on the new bell.

 

See also the article on two additional bells acquired for just before the Millenium celebrations of 2000.

This page was added by Pat Grigor on 19/11/2012.

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