125 years of  Ranmoor church and ringing
 - The last 25 years

 

“All Hold, Here’s The Treble, She’s Going, She’s Gone.”

And so begins another piece of ringing at Ranmoor, as it has done a score of times each week for most of our 125 years. The people change as time passes; while the circle of concentration, the rhythmic pulling of the sally and the backstroke continue across the years. Of our current band of 21 members, three have been with us for all the last quarter century, while many others have joined and left; Christmas and Easter often bringing old friends from the USA, from Winchester and St Alban’s Cathedral and elsewhere.

“Go, Grandsire Triples”

- starts the changes: and if nobody makes a serious mistake, five thousand pulls and three hours later, the eight ringers can celebrate their joint success, and add one more peal to the 69 peals of our first century, and another fifty in the last 25 years. Of these, our local band has dedicated its achievements to: the 100 years since rededication of the church, the restoration of the bells, and, twice, for the birth of children to band members. It’s not always Grandsire Triples, of course: that’s just one of many methods that we practice on Tuesdays and ring for service on Sundays: lots of pieces last just five or ten minutes; and quarter peals, 45 minutes ringing, are attempted about once a month. These, too, sometimes mark notable events: Michael Jarratt’s leaving, David Knight’s induction, Bridget’s ordination, Alison Bennett’s birth, Gerald Littlewood’s funeral, …

“Pull her straight, not hard; hands together”

… and only nine years later, Alison joined us as a member of our band. We are always keen to recruit new ringers, training them to have confidence to take control of any bell, including the sixteen hundredweight of the tenor, the largest bell; and then to join us regularly at practice and service ringing. It takes some time to appreciate our rewarding and addictive pastime, but once hooked …

“Pass the treble in two-three”

… there are other towers to visit, bells to ring, dinners to attend, friends to meet. Outings have headed to all directions and we have visited towers from Warwickshire to Cleveland; Lancashire to Lincolnshire: we remember the remote towers where the bells are seldom heard, the faded grandeur of the Pugin interior of Hoar Cross, the splendour of Boston Stump.

“Call her In and Out of the Hunt, twice repeated”

The original eight bells were installed in 1877, survived the church fire, and were augmented to the current ten in 1934. By the early 1990s each clapper had sounded each bell maybe ten million times: the PCC approved a programme of refurbishment, led by the ringers, who undertook the dismantling and reassembly in three stages over eighteen months, with the Loughborough bellfoundry doing the specialist work. Daunting though it was to pass the bells’ headstocks through the trap door in the ringing chamber floor to the ground below, newspaper photographs of the time, now displayed in the ringing chamber, show the equipment for hauling up the new bells in 1934; glance up as you pass through the church porch to appreciate the drop. We have experience and youth, understanding and enthusiasm, bells hopefully good for another fifty years before more major work, effective sound control to help our close neighbours: with some more volunteers young and old we look with confidence to the next 125 years.

“That is all… Stand”

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