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Bell ringing

 Handbell Bell Ringers 1904Bell Ringing is now as much a social function as religious, especially handbell ringing . This picture is taken outside the north door of the church as was the picture of anther group taken about the same time who may have been in the Ancient Order of Foresters. Some of the people also appear in the Cricket 11 of 1904 and other pictures. This photograph was first published by the Womens Institute in 1954 but a very faded original on display in the church. The copy of this photograph was supplied by Ken Church whose father, Maurice, can be seen on the far left of the back row. Other information is provided by Tim Peppard who also supplied information about the church tower and the bells.
 back row – left to right.
Maurice Church also appears in the picture of the Old Post Office.
Walter Cornelius. He is described in the page about shops.
Frederick Chappel. He was the uncle of Bob Powell.
Albert Pearce. He may have been a member of the  Ancient Order of Foresters and may have served in WW1. Ken church remembers his as a mason or plasterer on the Waldegrave estate.
Fred Speed. He was the son of James Speed.The 1901 census there was a Fred Speed aged 19 living with parents James and Harriet at Grove Farm, Chewton.  He was living at Harptree Lodge with wife Rose and two children in 1911. His occupation was shown as “gamekeeper”.
 Stanley Middle. He may have been another  member of the  Ancient Order of Foresters. He is described in the page about the Middle Family and may have served in WW1.
 Seward Heal appears in several photographs and has a page of this website dedicated to him.
Reasey Curtis. He appears in several photographs and is described in the website maintained by Mike Matthews who also provided information about William Tuckwell.
William Tucker. He lived at Chewton House and was instrumental in getting the new bells installed and may have been responsible for several of the photographs. There was at least one other family of Tuckers who were living in the village at the time and were sending their children to the village school.
WilliamTuckwell. William Thomas Tuckwell was a gardener living at Chewton House Lodge in the 1911 census. He was 37 at the time of the census and  was married to Eva who was 26.  Their daughter, Florence Evelyn was 6 and attended Chewton Mendip school.
W Roberts. He may have lived in East End and he may have been killed in an accident in Emborough quarry. He may have been related to George Roberts the 18th century overseer.
The first peal was rung by members of the Bath and Wells Diocesan Association of Change Ringers on January 20th 1914, in 3 hours 28 minutes. A peal is when the bells are swung into their inverted ringing position as a set rather than on their own. Ringing a full peal is some achievement as described below.
In 1968 the Editor of the Ringing World wrote “the arguments will never settle which is the finest octave in the country but these bells will always be one of the contenders for that honour, as the many who have rung them will testify. A rise in peal here produces a truly glorious sound.”
A quarter peal was rung half muffled on 16th October 1981 on the evening of the funeral of Paul Taylor OBE who was the last male member of the bell founding Taylor family. A service of re-dedication took place on 21st November 1981 and was taken by the Dean of Gloucester, the Very Reverend Gilbert Thurlow, a keen bell ringer himself. The first peal after re-hanging was a replica of the first peal of the bells and took place on 28th November 1981. A full peal has to be at least 5000 changes and at Chewton Mendip this takes 3 to 3½ hours. A change is a varying permutation of the bells sounding in a different order at each pull of the ropes. As of 31 December 2000, only 164 full peals have been achieved. The first was on 20th Januray 1914, the village band scoring two on the 16th April 1932 and 29th May 1950. The 100th peal was scored on  2nd May 1983 by ringers from Dursley Church. The first full peal to be rung half-muffled was on 5th October 1985 in memory Rev Tim Tily who was the Vicar of Chewton Mendip in the mid 1970’s. The 100th peal of all  eight bells changing , known as a major,  was rung on 9th June 1990. It was known as the Bath and Wells Surprise Major’ and was scored to mark the centenary of the Bath and Wells Diocesan Association of Changer ringers. Christmas Day 1995 heard the 250th Quarter peal rung since the installation was overhauled in 1981. The first ever peal of Chewton Mendip Surprise Major was rung in 3 hours and 9 minutes on 2ndJanuary 1999.
 Bell ringers 1975 This is a picture of the bell ringers from 1975. The picture was first published by the Somerset Gazette.The people are from left to right Erick Wadham, Kenn Cobb, David Baber, Herbert Baber (the Tower Captain),  Cecil Mogford, Tim Peppard and Cecil Bishop. Cecil Mogford was living in Woolard, near Pensford during the 1968 floods and his house was inundated but his priority was to save his collection of the ‘Ringing Times’.
Cecil used to ride a motorbike and on one occasion he bought a tin tub in Wells. Undeterred by the lack of stowage space on his motorbike he was riding home with the tub over his back. One of his bell ringing friends was driving a car and spotted Cecil so he grabbed the motor bikes handles with one hand to help Cecil along.Cecil was riding to a bell ringing session with Tim Peppard following behind. Tim was surprised to see Cecil veer off into a field and even more surprised when he reappeared on the road in front of him again. Cecil had noticed a short cut across a field which he took on the spur of the moment. His impetuous behaviour counted against him on one occasion when he parked his motor bike against the railings around St Stephen’s Church in Bristol. Cecil mounted his bike and road off forgetting he had chained his motor bike to the railings until he heard them rattling along behind him with sparks flying everywhere
Handbell Ringers 1979This was taken in christmas 1979. The people in the back row from left to right are Simon Memory, Paul Ford, Andrea Hellard, Mandy Pullin, Tim Pepard (again!), David Ford, Mandy Coombs, Alan Ford and Andrew Ford.The front row shows Alison Baber, Fifi Brice, Tracey Bray, Pru Grundy and Sarah Pullin.
Mandy Pullin now lives in London. Mandy Coombs still lives in the village. Pru Grundy lived in Homedene. Sarah Pullin now lives in New Zealand.
Other links and Wells Diocesan Association of Change Ringers This is a site about tuning bells created by Bill Hibbert, Great Bookham, Surrey. It was last updated April 24, 2004 and is full of very technical specifications. This is the website for John Taylor & Co. It shows pictures of the various stages of casting and tuning. This is a much briefer website with more pictures and less technical specifications.
One Comment
  1. Marian Bennett permalink

    The 1975 picture has omitted the name of the ringer between David Baber and Cecil Mogford. It is Herbert Baber, the tower captain.

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