Staplehurst BELLRINGERS Article July 2022
By Rebecca Steele
Those of you who are avid readers of the Parish Magazine may remember that last September I wrote about the Ringing World National Youth Contest which took place in Worcester. As with everything else last year the contest was disrupted by Coronavirus and postponed from July when it usually takes place. This year, with Coronavirus restrictions hopefully a thing of the past, the contest is back to normal and will be taking place on Saturday 2nd July in Exeter. Teams from all over the UK will be taking part and three young ringers selected for the Kent Young Ringers team regularly ring here at Staplehurst. Towers all over Exeter, including Exeter Cathedral itself, will be open to visiting ringers.
There are 14 bells hung for ringing in the south tower of Exeter Cathedral, including a tenor of 72 cwt. (over 3.5 tons). This is second only to Liverpool Cathedral (tenor 82 cwt), ahead of St Paul’s Cathedral (tenor 60 cwt) and almost four times the weight of All Saints’ Staplehurst (tenor 19 cwt). The bells themselves have a very long history; they were cast by several different bell founders between 1616 and 1979, but many of them have been recast from much earlier bells and have a continuous history from medieval times. They now form a ring of twelve in B flat major, and the two extra bells allow other keys to be obtained, making it possible to ring eight or ten of the lighter bells if desired.
The Kent team will be ringing their contest piece at the tower of St David’s Church which, I am very pleased to say, is not quite so imposing as the Cathedral! Please think of us on Saturday, I will be posting the results on the Staplehurst FaceBook Group soon after you have read this…..
Bell ringers can expect a warm welcome at bell towers anywhere in the world. During their holidays many ringers will schedule a visit to the local bell tower and enjoy an hour or so at their bell practice before retiring to the local pub for refreshment. Whether the Swan Tower in Western Australia, St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Hawaii or All Saints’ Church Staplehurst the welcome is likely to be just as friendly.
If you are interested in finding out more about bell ringing, then Staplehurst Bell Ringers practice on Tuesday evenings from 7:30 pm until 9:15 pm at All Saints’ Church. Please do come along to the tower or get in contact if you would like to find out more.