If there are any young people wanting to learn the art of bell ringing, you are definitely not alone. There are a number of youngsters around the whole area that are learning and ringing in their churches and who join together regularly in a ‘Young Ringers’ gathering to ring together and share their knowledge and experience. Here are some of the youngsters at a recent gathering. If you’re from St John’s church, you’ll recognise one of ours in the row of smiling faces! If you’re interested in joining them and learning to ring, please do get in touch. We have some fantastic teachers, it’s a great little crowd and you get to travel around together, enjoy time with friends and even summer camps away, so I’m told!
The tower of St Johns houses a ring of eight bells hung for full circle ringing and tuned to the key of E. The bells are rung for approximately 45 mins before the main morning and evening Sunday services, for other special occasions, and for weddings and funerals by request.
The bells are rung by a band of ringers drawn from Alresford and the surrounding area. All are members of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of ingers, a society that promotes the education of ringers and cooperation between ringers to maintain and ring the bells of the Diocese.
Practice night for the band is Friday from 7.30pm to 9.00pm.
If you are interested in joining the band or learning to ring, or would just like to see the bells being rung, please contact the tower Secretary, Elizabeth Johnson, on (01962) 733266.
The history of the bells before 1811 is unclear, but it is known that in that year six existing bells were recast and augmented to eight by Mears of Whitechapel. At this time the bells were hung in a wooden frame.
In 1936 the treble was found to have a crack in it and was recast by Taylors of Loughborough. At the same time the rest of the bells were retuned and rehung in an iron frame, also by Taylors. These are the bells that we ring today.
Most of the bells have an inscription and the makers name on them. Details of these inscriptions and the weight of each bell are shown below.
|treble||6.0.18||In sweetest sounds let each its note reveal
Mine shall be first to lead the dulcet peal.
J Taylor of Loughborough Recast 1936
|2||5.3.20||The public raised us with a liberal hand
We come with harmony to cheer the land.
|3||6.1.19||When female virtue weds with manly worth
We catch the rapture and we spread it forth.
|4||7.0.4||Does battle rage, do sanguine hosts contend,
We hail the victor if he’s Britain’s friend.
|5||7.3.23||May he who England’s matchless sceptre sways
Her sacred honour guard, her glory raise.
|6||8.3.12||May Britons still their ancient freedom boast
And glittering commerce bless their happy coast.
|7||10.1.21||Thomas Mears of London Fecit 1811|
|tenor||15.3.18||May all who I shall summon to the grave
The blessing of a well spent life receive.
Wm Keene, James Redman, Church Wardens.
|All the bells except the 7th also have ‘T Mears of London Fecit 1811’ inscribed.|