Church Bells

Bells have been rung at St Mary’s since at least 1552.  However, at least two bells are thought to have been cast even earlier. Our first five bells were:

No 1. Cast at Drayton Parslow, and engraved: CHANDLER MADE ME IN 1700.

No 2. Now thought to have been cast around 1399.

No 3. Cast in 1460 probably at Aldgate, and engraved SIT NOMEN DOMINI BENEDICTUM (Blessed be the name of the Lord).

No 4. Cast at Whitechapel and engraved THIS BELL WAS MADE 1608.

No 5. Also cast at Whitechapel and engraved BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORDE 1590.

In 1944 a local farmer, Douglas Walton of Church Farm, took on the role of Captain of Bells. The bells were unringable though no one knows why, or when they had last been rung. Doug got the bells restored and refurbished with new headstocks and fittings. Rehung in 1951 in a new framework, designed to take a sixth, smaller bell, they were re-dedicated in February 1952.

We now have six bells. The “youngest” was cast in 2000 at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry through a generous gift from Douglas and his wife Irene. It is now No 1, i.e. the “treble”, the bell with the highest note (D#). It bears the engraving THE WALTON BELL: DOUGLAS AND IRENE GAVE ME VOICE, MAY ALL WHO HEAR ME RING REJOICE. MILLENIUM 2000.

The bells are rung every Sunday morning, for other special services (e.g. at Christmas) and for weddings if requested. They are also rung to mark notable civic occasions such as The Queen’s Silver and Golden Jubilees, Royal Birthdays, historic anniversaries and commemorations.

The ringers practice on Thursday evenings between 7.30 and 9 and anyone interested is welcome to join us.  For more information please contact the Captain of Bells, Brian Robson, on 01296 432197 or email bells@stmaryswt.org

 

Chiltern Handbell Ringers

This is an independent group fundraising for Charities in the Community
For more information please contact Barbara White, Secretary, telephone 01296 613556 or email gandbwhite@btinternet.com.