St Thomas Becket tower and bells
Our church has a tower which is 280 years old. Stone built it has 3 floors. On the ground floor is the Baptistry where the age old font stands and up to the middle of the 20th century it was used often for Christenings. The window tells of Christ advising “suffer little children to come unto me”. Sadly the weather has damaged the paining of the faces quite badly so they are not showing the facial features as they should do. Currently this area is being used for and by children who attend the services in church and they come to use the drawing and colouring facility which is lovingly provided and welcomes their involvement.
The 1st floor is the ringing room where the ropes for the six bells hang. A rope can be any length depending on how far it needs to reach for the control of the bell. Our ropes are approx. 40 ft in length and they are made from polyester and flax for durability. The sally which can be any colour, ours are red, white and blue, are made of wool and are the main way to control the bell when ringing. The tail is approx. 6 ft in length and must never be let go of when ringing.
Our 3rd floor consists of the 6 bells. The heaviest, known as the tenor weighs in at 11 cwt. and is the bell that tolling is rung on for the pancake bell or funerals, (not rung usually except by request these days). You will hear the bells rung on Tuesday night for practise, from 7.30 pm and you are very welcome to join us for a trial ring or just a look see. Sunday morning we ring for 20 minutes before the 10.30 service and through the year we ring for weddings, when asked, and welcome visitors from other towers and Guilds who enjoy touring and ringing in different areas,
Our team consists of 8 adults and 1 under 15 year old so it is open to all age groups and it is never too late to learn campanology. The benefits for health have been noted a lot lately and we can vouch for the fact that climbing the 25 steps up the spiral staircase and ringing the bell for anything from 10 minutes or more, can be a good, steady, but beneficial workout, in good company and very satisfying. Hope to see you soon.