Memories provoked by the New Bell

The following memory first appeared in the June 1985 issue of the Orwell Bulletin

By Maurice Pearce

five bells came back from Loughborough after being recast

I was interested to read of the making and hanging of the new bell. I remember when the other five bells came back from Loughborough after being recast. It took the village people about ten years to get the money to make the tower safe and to rehang the bells. This was raised from fetes, whist drives, dances and jumble sales etc. Two men, I remember their Christian names , Amos and Herbert, who I knew well because they lodged with us at Fishers Lane, and my father and I, helped 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 Revd. E. J. White who was Rector at the time saying, “Will they be ready for Christmas?” They were ready and ringing.

 It 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 out fairly quickly.

war came along and bells could not be rung by order

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'm glad to say are doing a lovely job of it. I know this new bell will 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.

 

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