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Mission Action Plan 2018/9

Taking forward Discipleship, Vocation and Evangelism in the footsteps of St Chad

Read more: Mission Action Plan 2018/9

The PCC - A Beginners Guide!

The Annual meeting of PCC took place on 9th April in S. John's room. The PCC (Parochial Church Council) is the 'governing body' of the church in Ellesmere and is responsible for all aspects of the work of the church in our town from organising the schedule of services, maintaining the building, fund raising, mission and outreach to the local community and beyond.

The PCC is chaired by the Vicar and meets 10 times each year in addition to the annual meeting. The committee consists of the Vicar, Church Wardens (Christiane Bunce and Rodney Stokes were re-elected), Lay Reader (Ron Herepath), members elected to the Deanery Synod (or area organisation of churches) and a number of elected members depending on the size of the Electoral Roll. This is a list of everyone in and around the Parish who has a regular association with the church. The list is reviewed every year and completely revised every 6 years. This year's revision gave a total list of 175 and so 12 members - 4 each year for 3 years are elected onto PCC.

Our new PCC comprises:
The Vicar
Church Wardens - Christiane Bunce and Rodney Stokes
Lay Reader - Ron Herepath
Treasurer and Giftaid Secretary - Peter Leigh

Elected Members:
Roger Ballamy
Emily Digby
Hazel Digby
Ann Edwards
Alethea Gilman
Mavis Griffiths
Ann Harris
Alan Hickman
Alison Hughes
William Parker
Mark Spurdens
Jeremy Stretton

Deanery Synod Members:
Connie Mason

Co-opted members:
Corinna Jebb
Julie Parker

It was pleasing to see some new faces elected to PCC - Alan Hickman and Emily Digby who will be able to represent the views of the younger people at S. Mary's (and keep the older members on their toes!)

June Thomas, who for many years has organised the Electoral Roll was presented with flowers as a thank you for all her hard work and both she and Graham Stanford were thanked for the work they have done with the 200 Club.

The Church Bells

For centuries the bells of Ellesmere have rung out over the town and over the Mere. They have rung - they are rung - for weddings and for funerals, for coronations and for jubilees, to celebrate the joy of Christmas, to welcome in the New Year, and to welcome people to church. We are fortunate in having our ring of bells, and in being able to hear their sound each week, on Sundays and on practice nights, and we are fortunate in having our bellringers, who bring to us each week the wonderful sound of our bells.

Tower Captain:

Contact Number:

Practice Night:

Sunday Ringing:

Peter Leigh

01691 624837
Mob 07710 204253

Friday from 7.30 to 9.00 pm

9.45 to 10.15 am

Remarks:

Visitors are always welcome at any ringing session. We are always seeking new ringers so if you would like to find out about ringing and learn to ring please contact us or come and see us on a practice night.

 

We have recently caried out a full restoration of the bells to give St Mary’s a fine octave of bells capable of sounding out over Ellesmere for the next 100 years and more, and to continue the tradition of bell-ringing, part of the heritage of this town for hundreds of years.

News about the Bells and the Bell Project can be found here.

The following document was put together by Mrs. Estelle Parker back in 2002, and is still relevant:

THE BELLS OF THE PARISH CHURCH OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, ELLESMERE

Ding dong! merrily on high and other such examples of onomatopoeia in our carols remind us of the long tradition of bellringing in our churches. From early days we have been celebrated for our bells. In the 10th century those two great monastic bishops, Dunstan and Ethelwold, were noted for their love of bells. The treasure which Ethelwold presented to Peterborough included two silver bells, ten banging bells (very costly) and seven handbells. Dunstan, who was skilled in music, painting, embroidery and metalwork, even made bells.

Our first church here in Ellesmere, built of wood, probably had one hanging bell. The stone church that replaced it in Norman times was given a small octagonal west tower, certainly built to house one or more banging bells. In the late 13th and the 14th centuries the Knights of the Order of St. John, who had become the patrons here, rebuilt and enlarged the church, adorning it inside and out, and crowning all their work with a massive - though not high - tower, strong enough to hold a ring of bells. In the middle of the 15th century the tower was given an upper storey and greatly embellished, by Sir Richard le Strange and his wife Elizabeth (Cobham), and the sound of the bells would ring out through the new bell-openings.

Perhaps the bells of this time were the "two small belles and a gret belle" which were recorded a century later in the time of Edward VI. (And if so, as is likely, these would have been the bells rung out at the time of the defeat of the Spanish Armada.)

In the time of Charles II a new bell was given (1669) and in William III's time (his queen, Mary II, had died of smallpox) another bell was presented (1695). Two new bells were made and hung in 1715. They were made by Abraham Rudhall (II) who was paid in two instalments for making the bells and 'anging' them in 'ye steeple': £31 in the May and £10 15s in the November.

Although that made seven bells in toto very probably there were only four, the earlier bells having been melted down and the bell-metal reused. In 1727, the year in which George II came to the throne, Ellesmere had a ring of six bells, all cast by Abraham Rudhall II of the celebrated Rudhall family of bell-founders in Gloucester. Two of these 1727 bells were recast from the bell-metal of the 1669 and 1695 bells. (Gloucester was good place for a bell foundry: the newly-cast bells - some of which were of course immensely heavy - could be transported straight from the docks in boats up the Severn to Worcester, Bridgnorth and Shrewsbury. The Severn in Shrewsbury was much more navigable then with many boats carrying many goods.) Some of those 1727 bells are still here, rung each week by our bellringers.

The ring of six was soon increased to a ring of eight bells by 1730. In 1768, in the time of George III, four new bells were made, all cast by Thomas Rudhall (fl. 1761 to 1783: see inscriptions below). Joshua Adams was the Vicar here at that time.

It seems that by 1915 the bells were no longer rung but merely chimed for services on Sundays and weekdays. The tower bad been declared unsafe for ringing - yet the tower had been repaired and restored in 1904, so perhaps it was in the last years of the 19th century that the tower was not safe for bellringing. New stocks and wheels were fitted, probably during tower restoration work in 1904, and the reason the bells were no longer rung in 1915 could be that most of the ringers had gone to fight in the Great War (1914 - 1918).

The inscriptions on the bells are as follows (from H.B- Walters' book The Church Bells of Shropshire 1915):

1 WHEN YOU US RING WE'LL SWEETLY SING T R 1768
2 I: WHORWOOD W: 1695 ED: BARKLEY W: 1727
3 RD: HATCHETT W: 1669 PHIL: GRIFFIS W: 1727
4 THOMAS RUDHALL FOUNDER 1768
5 THE REVD: MR: IOSHVA ADAMS VICAR T R 1768
6 T: GOUGH D: MARSH S: BICKLEY E: FURMSTON
CHURCH WARDENS 1768 T R
7 OBSERVE WITH CARE THE HOVR OF PRAYR
IOS: HIGGINSON & RT CLARKE WARDENS 1727
8 THE GIFT OF EDWD KYNASTON OF OATLEY ESQR
RECAST BY THE PARISH 1799
S. IACKSON & THOS HIGGINSON CHURCH WARDENS
I. RUDHALL FECT

In the Ringing Chamber, which is very well looked after, are some interesting plaques. The earliest is a peal board of 1730:

The whole Peal of
Grandsire Triples was
(on the 4th day of Febry 1730
within the Space of 3
Hours & 5 minutes) com
=pleatly rung by the fol-
=lowing Persons.
Ioseph Langford
Thomas FranKs
Iohn Sadler
Thos Kynaston
Willm Gough
Willm Davies
Thos Sadler
Ias Eaton

This was very complicated ringing and a great feat, especially for a small place like Ellesmere.

A plaque of 1850 records a set of old ringing rules:

If
That to Ring you Doe come here
You Must Ring Well With hand
& ear If you Ring with Spur or hat
A gun of Beer is due for That.
And If A Bell you Over Throw.
6 pence is due Before you go.
If to These Laws you doe consent
Come Take a Bell we are content
These Laws are old The (sic) are not new
for Ringers The (sic) Must have There (sic) due
This Board was Reptd
January 2
1850

Note: A gun of beer: a flagon of beer. Ringing was thirsty work. Cf. the old saying:

You are too fond of beer
Say the bells of Ellesmere.

A third plaque commemorates a special peal of Stedman Triples, a very difficult and complicated task:

On Saturday June 20, 1925
A PEAL OF STEDMAN TRIPLES
5,040 Changes, (Sir A.P. Heywoods variation)
Was Rung in this Tower in 3 hrs & 29 mins
at the third attempt by an entirely local band
stationed as follows:-

  Richard Biggs Treble
  George H. Edwards 2
  Arthur Allen 3
  Alick Haynes 4
  Thomas Butler, Senr 5
  William S. Higginson, Junr 6
  Thomas R. Butler, Junr 7
  William Higginson, Senr. Tenor.

Conducted by T.R.Butler, Junr
Revd. W .K. Weston,M.A.,Vicar.
E.G.Davies }
                       Churchwardens
R.A.Sharp  }
E.Kesterton, Capt of Ringers.

Twenty-five years ago the Queen's Silver Jubilee was celebrated by our local bellringers. A special plaque records the following, written within a bell shape on a shield background:

SILVER JUBILEE YEAR 1977
ST.MARY'S CHURCH ELLESMERE
7TH JUNE.

A SPECIAL TOUCH WAS RUNG BETWEEN 4 P.M. & 5 P.M.
BY
LOCAL BELLRINGERS
FRANK JAMES.
TERRY DAVIES.
HELEN HUMPHREYS.
ELIZABETH DAVIES.
JUDY HUTTON.
JACKIE SADLER.

This year, 2002, two national historic occasions have been marked by our local bellringers. One was a tribute paid to the Queen Mother who died at the age of 101. On the day of her funeral, April 9th, Ellesmere bellringers rang one hour of call changes with half muffles. The ringers were: Terry Davies (Tower Captain), Steve Gilbert, Robin Jagoe, Barry Jones, Peter Leigh, Geoffrey Talbot, Rodney Upton and Simon Vernon.

The second national event was on June 4th when the Queen's Golden Jubilee was celebrated here with one hour of call changes and Grandsire Doubles. The ringers on that occasion were:

  Barry Jones 2 (Treble)
  Elizabeth Davies 3
  Peter Leigh 4
  Rodney Upton 5
  Robin Jagoe 6
  Steve Gilbert 7
  Terry Davies (Tower Captain) 8 (Tenor)

For centuries the bells of Ellesmere have rung out over the town and over the Mere. They have rung - they are rung - for weddings and for funerals, for coronations and for jubilees, to celebrate the joy of Christmas, to welcome in the New Year, and to welcome people to church. We are fortunate in having our ring of bells, and in being able to hear their sound each week, on Sundays and on practice nights, and we are fortunate in having our bellringers, who bring to us each week the wonderful sound of our bells.

M. Estelle D. Parker
September, 2002

The Bell Project

The restoration of our historic bells so that they may ring out over the town for future generations to enjoy.

Please help the Ellesmere Bell-Ringers to achieve their goal.

THE BELLS

There have been bells in Ellesmere church since the 15th century and during the late 1600’s bells were added, some new, some recast from older ones. By 1720 there were 8 bells in the tower mounted as we see them today. The present set of bells were cast by 3 generations of the Rudhall family at their foundry in Gloucester, between 1727 and 1799. Four of the bells were recast in 1768 and the tenor (the heaviest) in 1799.They are the only complete set of  8 Rudhall bells in the county and are also the heaviest set of 8 bells in Shropshire.

The heaviest of the bells weighs 21 cwt (1070kgs) and the total weight of all 8 bells is 4ton 7cwt (4390kgs). They are mounted on a wooden frame constructed in 1712, reusing much of the timber from earlier installations, probably dating back to medieval times.

The last time that the bells were refurbished fully was in 1905. Over the years the moving parts wear out and the wooden parts deteriorate. That is why we need to carry out this work.

More information about the History of the Church Bells can be found here.

THE PROJECT

It is now over 100 years since any substantial work has been carried out on the bells and understandably they are showing a marked deterioration and are proving more difficult to ring.

Our aim is to carry out a full restoration of the bells to give St Mary’s a fine octave of bells capable of sounding out over Ellesmere for the next 100 years and more, and to continue the tradition of bell-ringing, part of the heritage of this town for hundreds of years.  On completion of the work the bells will be easier to ring, make a much more tuneful sound and we will have the facilities to train new and improving ringers in a far less intrusive way that we have now.

KEY ACTIVITIES WILL BE

  • The bells are badly out of tune with each other. To correct this, the bells will be removed from the tower and sent to a Bell Foundry where they have the facilities to retune each bell.
  • At the same time the bells will be machined to prepare them for their new fittings.
  • All the moving parts and the wooden mountings of the bells will be replaced – the headstocks , wheels, bearings, clappers etc
  • The bell frame in the tower will be repaired and strengthened ready for the return of the refurbished bells.
  • Install sound control shutters to reduce the noise impact during practice sessions.

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

The work will be carried out by a specialist bell hanging company with the ringers and voluntary helpers doing as much of the basic work as possible to reduce the costs. Even so the estimated total outlay will be in the region £50,000 - £60,000.

An application is being made for Heritage Lottery funding and the Shropshire Association of Church Bell-Ringers have promised a donation of £5000 to add to our own funds.

We have already (as of January 2013) raised over £11000 but we still need your financial support in order that the work can go ahead.

MAKE A DONATION

Any amount will be greatly appreciated and donations under Gift Aid will make your donation even more worthwhile.

Donations will be recorded in a Book of Dedication which will show the process of the restoration and will be included with a display of the old bell fittings and information boards about the bells and their history, in the church as a lasting souvenir of the project.

To become involved in this most worthy appeal please send your donation to the Project Treasurer.

Peter Leigh  
2 Magnolia Drive
Ellesmere
Shropshire SY12 9PN

If you are a UK taxpayer you can increase the value of your donation by indicating that you wish us to treat the donation as Gift Aid.

Of course if you wish your donation to be anonymous we will respect this.

Who's Who at S. Mary's

Vicar: The Rev'd Philip Edge SSC
The Vicarage, Church Hill,
Ellesmere, Shropshire. SY12 0HB
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel 622571
Church Wardens: Mr Rodney Stokes
Mereside Farm, Ellesmere
Tel 622404
  Mrs Ann Harris
The Cottage, Love Lane, Ellesmere
Tel 622163
Hon Treasurer: Mr Rodney Stokes
Mereside Farm, Ellesmere
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel 622404
PCC Secretary: Mrs Sue Assar
53 Hillcrest, Ellesmere
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel 623049
Gift Aid Secretary: Mr Rodney Stokes
Mereside Farm, Ellesmere
Tel 622404
Director of Music: Mr Kevin Whitley Tel 623571
Assistant Organist: Mr Malcolm Powell Tel 587739
Sacristan: Mrs Alethea Gilman,
The Hem, Tetchill, Ellesmere
Tel 623522
Assistant Sacristan: Ms Rebecca Gilman,
Birch Hall Farm, Ellesmere
Tel 624741
Parish Administrator: Mrs Heather Wright
6 Swanmere Park, Ellesmere
Tel 624107
Tower Captain: Mr Peter Leigh
2 Magnolia Drive, Ellesmere
Tel 624837
Friends of S. Mary's Administrator Mr Roger Ballamy,
36 Watergate Street, Ellesmere
Tel 623731
Safeguarding Co-ordinator
Mrs Anne Edge
The Vicarage, Church Hill, Ellesmere
Tel 622571
S. Mary's Club
(Sunday School)
Mrs Suzie Vernon
The Drift House, Lake House Mews,
Grange Road, Ellesmere
Tel 623765
  Mrs Tanya Smirnova
The Woodlands, Elson Road, Ellesmere
Tel 623234
Magazine Distributor Mrs Mary Goldbourne
2 Rowan Close, Ellesmere
Tel 623868
Magazine Editor Mrs Margaret Lagoyianni
6 Labernum Drive, Ellesmere
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel 622245
Magazine Printer Maxwell's Tel 623919

Updated: 20/03/2019