Bellringing

the_ringers

The band that rang in the New Year at St. John's, New Year's Eve 2016/7

We have a fine peal of 8 bells at St. John's, Washingborough and a keen band of ringers, but we are always on the lookout for some new recruits. If you fancy having a go then contact the Tower Captain, Jonathan Clark. JC the TC (as I am apparently known) is also the Webmaster so you can e-mail me here or ring me on 07879 475189. We have one of the few ITTS trained instructors at our tower who will be happy to "show you the ropes". We ring every Wednesday night, but not necessarily at St. John's, as we also ring at St. Michael's, Waddington (a pleasent little ring of 6 bells). The practices generally run like this

1st & 3rd Wednesdays of the month - Washingborough - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

2nd & 4th Wednesdays of the month - Waddington - 7:30pm to 9:00pm

5th Wednesday of the month (these happen occasionally) - Harmston - 7:30pm to 9:00pm

As well as Waddington and Harmston, some of our ringers also run practices on a Tuesday night at Nettleham (6 bells) and on a Friday night at Wragby (6 bells)

The bells at St. John's are a medium weight ring of 8 bells, the heaviest bell (the tenor) being 627kg (or about 99 stone in old money!). That might sound really heavy but it isn't really for a peal of 8 bells. The bells are rung by the unusual method of swinging the entire bell through 360 degrees. As the bell nears the end of it's arc and stops, the clapper (which doesn't stop) is thrown against the side of the bell and it rings. The bell is controlled using a rope which drops down to a room somewhere below.

The oldest ringable bells in the tower are bells number 5, 6 and 7 and were cast in 1589 by Henry Oldfield. In 1713 Abraham Rudhall cast another 3 bells (3, 4 and 8) to make the peal up to a ring of 6 bells. Sadly both Oldfields and Rudhalls no longer exist. In 1896 John Taylor cast 2 light bells (1 and 2) to make the peal up to 8 bells. Taylors still make bells today and are based in Loughborough. Despite the fact that the bells were cast in three different centuries by three different foundries, they all work very well together.

In 1998 the wooden bell frame collapsed and ringing had to cease while a new all steel frame was fitted. The frame was manufactured by Eayre & Smith, who are now part of Taylors of Loughborough. A lot of the work to put the frame in was undertaken by the ringers themselves and 11 months later, the bells were ringing again.

The very oldest bell in the tower is the Angelus bell. It is not part of the peal of 8 bells and stands alone. It is what is known as "hung dead" i.e. it is bolted to the frame and does not move. It was cast in about 1400 and has a magnetic hammer, which is electronically controlled from the vestry. It rings the Angelus at 12:00 noon and 6:00pm. It is technically also meant to ring the Angelus at 6:00am, but in deference to our neighbours we disabled that bit!

If you have any questions about bellringing then you might find the answers on our FAQ page

To see what we got up to on our tower outing to the East of the Lincolnshire, click here. Be warned the whole thing is about 27 minutes long!