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More News From The Bells

On Saturday 10 January we are to host the ACM of the Shropshire Association of Church Bellringers.

We received a substantial grant from the Association towards the costs of the Bell Restoration Project. This occasion will give us the chance to thank the Association for their generosity and give the Association members a chance to ring the bells and experience the great improvement in both sound and ease of ringing that we have achieved.

We are expecting about 50 members to attend. There will be bell ringing from about 4 .00pm for an hour. We will then have a short service in church and this will be followed by tea and the meeting in St John's Room. There may be more ringing after the meeting but it will end well before 9.00pm.

Peter Leigh
for the Tower Captain and Bell Ringers

News From The Bells

The bells are now working well and sound so much better than before!!

On Saturday 11 October a team of ringers from the Shropshire Association of Church Bell Ringers rang a quarter peal of Stedman Triples. This was the first time a quarter peal had been successfully rung on the bells since they were retuned, refurbished and returned to the tower at Easter. The quarter peal consists of 1260 changes during which the order in which the 8 bells sound is never repeated. It took 47 minutes to complete.

The quarter peal was rung as a tribute to the fallen of the First World War, especially to those 68 men of Ellesmere and district who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Using some of the old equipment from the bells that was removed before they went for refurbishment, we have created an exhibit to serve as a reminder of the Bell Project. We have taken the wheel and headstock from the treble bell, clappers from the treble and second bells, and two of the old ropes and created a display. On lecterns at either side we have compiled a record of the project from the initial fund raising though all the work of removing and replacing the bells to the blessing of the bells after they were re-installed. We also display all the press cuttings which followed our progress though the Project. It is on display at the back of the church - please have a look at it.

We held another successful open tower afternoon during the Ellesmere Festival. Although the weather was not too good and the views from the top of the tower were limited, about 80 people enjoyed the tours and found out about the work that had been done. With the simulator system allowing us to ring the bells without making a noise outside and CCTV giving a view of the bells from the ringing chamber we now have a much more informative presentation for visitors. The Sunday evening youth group had a tour of the tower on 19 October. We will be holding more open tower afternoons next year.

We can usually muster 8 ringers on Sunday mornings so that we can do justice to the bells and we have friends from other towers who join us for our Friday evening practices. However we always need more ringers and are pleased to welcome new-comers. So if you have rung before and would like to come back to it or if you have never rung but would like to give it a try, don't be shy, get in touch, we will be delighted to see you.

(Following on from last month's magazine - our bells do not have names but they do have inscriptions on them - find out about them on a tower visit!)

Peter Leigh
for the Tower Captain and Bell Ringers

Final News From the Bell Project

Done and Dusted!!!

At last we have the bells back in place and the tower cleaned and redecorated. At last the ringers can relax and return to ringing the bells instead of spending all their time cleaning, painting, bolting and hammering.
The ceiling in the ringing chamber has been refurbished and the rope hand-rail on the stairs has been installed. These were the final tasks of the project.

To celebrate the (very successful) end of the project we are going to hold another Tower Open Day so that you can come and see what we have achieved. The tower captain, Terry Davies, and all of the ringers would therefore like to invite you to visit the Tower on Saturday 19 July between 2pm and 5 pm. See the details in the advert in the magazine. Ann Harris and her team of helpers will provide teas in the church during the afternoon.

Before the open day we have asked the vicar to hold a short service in the ringing chamber for the ringers, to bless the bells and to mark the end of the project.

By now I hope you will have heard the bells and noticed the improvement in their sound - they are now much more in tune, a musical octave, and much sweeter in tone.

Closely connected with the project, but not part of it, we have installed a new flag-pole on the tower. The old one, a very heavy wooden pole, was rotten at the top and the pulley broke on Christmas morning. We have now replaced it with a glass fibre pole of the same height, with a golden ball on the top! The flag has been flown for Ascension Day, Pentecost and in future will be flown for important days in the calendar of the church and the town.


Peter Leigh
on behalf of the Tower Captain and all of the Bell Ringers

St Mary's Church Tower Open

The Bells are back

Now is your chance to find out what has been done to the bells and the tower over the past year.

Saturday 19 July

Tours start between 2.00pm to 4.30pm - free of charge

Come and see what a difference the refurbishment project has made to the bells and the tower. Then enjoy the view from the top of the church tower. ( Don't forget the camera!)

Teas and cakes will be served in the church throughout the afternoon

Meet outside the tower door, south side of the church.

(Please wear sensible shoes, no large bags, no dogs)

We regret that we are not allowed to take children under 8 or adults over 80 up the tower

The Bells rang out for Easter Day!!!

We are delighted that we have the bells back in the tower and working and that we rang them on Easter morning

The installation and adjustment of the bells took place between 7 and 11 April, not without a few little problems as each of the bell installations had to be tailored to fit their ancient wooden frame. We had brackets the wrong shape and bolts that were too short but by the end of the week all of the minor snags had been sorted. We had a test ringing of all 8 of the bells on Friday 11 April at about 6.00pm and were very pleased with both the sound and the feel of the bells. We rang the bells for the 10.15 Palm Sunday service.

The clock strike is also back – but now it is done by an electrical striker and the time is accurate as it is controlled by a satellite timing system.
Likewise the sanctus bell is now rung by an electrical striker and is operated by a small remote control unit from in the church – no more heaving on a rope in the corner by the pulpit.

The tower captain, Terry Davies, and all of the ringers can now return to their weekly routine of practice nights on Fridays and ringing for  Sunday morning services and weddings. We are very pleased with the improved sound of the bells and hope that you will all enjoy them too.

Peter Leigh
on behalf of the Tower Captain and all of the bell-ringers