75th Anniversary of the Ten Bells at St John's

 March 2009

Pauline Heath writes about a special forthcoming anniversary.

On Easter Eve, Saturday 31St March 1934 at 3pm, a service of rededication of the bells took place and two new bells were dedicated by the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Sheffield.
  At the end of this month we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the 10 bells at St John's and a peal will be rung on Saturday 4th April to mark this anniversary. It will also be 65 years since the first peal on the new ten bells, which took place on 10th April 1944.
  The last peal rung on the original 8 bells was of Kent Treble Bob Major on 8th July 1924 following the death of Sam Thomas. On 10th April 1944 the method rung was Kent Treble Bob Royal and it is this same method that will be attempted on 4th April this year.
Photo: Bell Removal This photograph shows - Mr Charles Haynes, a ringer at Ranmoor for over 40 years, with the old bells in the church porch as they were being taken away for recasting.
  Recently a service sheet from the rededication was given to the ringers and a copy of this is now on the wall in the ringing chamber. During the Service, which was based around Evensong, the Bishop, the Vicar, the Churchwardens, Lieut. Colonel R.O. Wever and members of the Bells Committee proceeded to the Tower. Mr Cyril Johnston, representing the Bell Founders, handed the bell ropes to Col. Wever who then handed them to the Churchwardens. The Wardens then passed the original eight ropes to the Bishop for the Rededication, followed by the ropes of the two new bells for the dedication of these bells. The Bishop then handed the ropes to the Vicar. (This is what the service sheet tells me but I believe the Vicar was unwell on the day and watched the service from the triforium). The bells were then rung as the Bishop and others left the tower.

  I find this part of the Service quite interesting as anyone who has come into the ringing chamber is always told not to touch the ropes in case they inadvertently should pull the bell over from its balance position. With all this passing around of the ropes and as the bells were in their 'raised' position it appears to me to be a miracle there was not an accident! I also assume that the service was relayed from the tower into the Church so the congregation were aware of what was happening. Another interesting point to note would be all these people going up and down the staircase, which is the same one that is there today, and it is not very wide!

  If you are able to go up to the bells these inscriptions can be read around the bell.

No 1 - Note A. Weight 4 ¼  cwts
"This bell was added to the original peal of eight bells by the Sheffield and
District Society of Changeringers in memory of Sam Thomas in 1934"

No 2 - Note G. Weight 4 cwts 2 qrs
Similar inscription

No 3 - Note F. Weight 4 cwts 2 qrs 14 Ibs
"May God grant prosperity to the Church and Parish of Ran Moor"

No 4 - Note E. Weight 4 ¾  cwts 7 lbs
"Praise God in His Holiness, Praise Him in his Power"

No 5 - Note D. Weight 5 ¼  cwts
"When we join our cheerful sound Let Love and Loyalty abound"

No 6 - Note C. Weight 6 cwts
"All ye people that hear us ring,
Be faithful to your God and Queen"

No 7 - Note B flat. Weight 7 cwts 2 qrs
"This peal and Church are dedicated to St John the Evangelist.
C. M. Gibbs, Architect, Sheffield."

No 8 - Note A. Weight 8 ¾  cwts
"This peal of bells hung and fittings by John Shaw & Son,
under the superintendence of John R. Cordingley of Bradford."

No 9 - Note G. Weight 11 cwts
"The Church is the gift of John Newton Mappin, Esq., Birchlands, Sheffield."

Tenor - Note F. Weight 16 cwts
This peal of eight bells presented to Ran Moor Church by
William Smith, Esq., James Barwell, Founder, Birmingham,
1878 + of Fulwood and Hallamshire Works, Sheffield."

This peal of eight bells was recast in 1934 by subscriptions
From the Parishoners." H C Foster, Vicar

The whole work of recasting and rehanging was carried out by Messrs Gillett & Johnston, Bell Founders in Croydon.

Photo: Bell Installation 1934

This picture shows the new bells in the porch, about to be raised to the tower.

  I have a personal interest in this as my grandparents were instrumental in organising the fundraising for the recasting of the original 8 bells and every Sunday evening en­velopes were opened and the sums of money that parishioners could spare that week were counted up. The bells had been silent for almost 2 years as ringing had been stopped on 12th June 1932 because the bells were unsafe. There must have been great celebrations to hear the bells ringing again. The bells have been rung regularly since being rehung except for the enforced break during WWII. The local band has changed over the 75 years, both in number and strength of ringing but we have always kept the bells ringing for services and practice and other special events.
  We are all looking forward to the Anniversary, and hope that you will listen out on April 4th as we attempt the peal of Kent Treble Bob Royal to mark the occasion. We will start the peal at 10.00am, and if things go according to plan, finish at about 1.00pm. 

Pauline Heath

(The complete article is in this Word file)

Subsequently printed in the Ringing World


Also celebratory Quarter peal


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