Roy Le Marechal Writes:
St Mary’s, Bishopstoke has just reached 800 peals, the first Guild tower to reach this total.
It took nearly 50 years to ring fifty peals, from 29th June 1921 to 14th March 1970. However, an apparently insignificant peal of Doubles in 1969, the first peal on the bells for over four years, contained five “first pealers”. Two of them were the new tower captain John Colliss and Roy LeMarechal.
With two teenagers running the tower, peal ringing took off. The 2nd fifty took fewer than 6 years – the 100th was a peal of Cambridge Surprise Major by the Sunday Service band in 1976. The remaining 201 peals came along in fewer than 19 years.
Several notable peals for the Guild were rung on the old octave. Among them:-
- First peal of Bristol S Major by entirely resident Guild members.
- First ladies’ peal of Triples.
- First peal of Scientific Triples.
- First Silent and Non-conducted peal on tower bells.
- Most Spliced Surprise Major (35m).
44 ringers rang their first peal on the old bells and a total of 301 peals were rung on them. It should have been 300 but the tower captain at the time had a problem with sums and mis-counted. This resulted in not just the last, but the last two peals being rung by members of the local band. In total, 15 of the peals were “local band” peals.
Many “first peal in the method” and “first for the Guild” have been achieved on the new bells. Several ladies band peals have been rung and 12 ringers have scored their first peal.
Simple arithmetic will show that, since the new ring of ten was installed in 1995, a further 499 peals have been rung on St Mary’s bells. 28 were rung entirely by the local band including the first two. Arrangements are in hand and, hopefully, the 500th on the new bells will also be a local band peal.
The Peal Details
Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild
800th peal on St Mary’s bells.