On Saturday the 12th of May, a party of 17 ringers from Sacred Heart, St. John’s, St. Peter’s, Christchurch Priory & Canford Magna, plus some WAGS, set off for our annual ringing outing. This year the towers we visited were in the Meon Valley which is a very beautiful part of Hampshire.
As is our custom , a different person was appointed at each tower to conduct & another to write a short account of our activities. This spreads the load & doesn’t put all the work on one person.
Tichfield. St. Peter’s 6 bells 12cwt. This was the day of the annual village fete so there was a lot of hustle & bustle going on in the church as teas were being prepared . The Anglo Saxon church dates from the 7th Century. The Normans added the South aisle and the impressive entrance dates from the second half of the 12th Century. The large graveyard had many large rectangular tombs which were obviously of some antiquity but the inscriptions were too worn to decipher
The ringing chamber was entered by an outside stone staircase which led into a small chamber of 6 bells. The rope mats were circular with bell motif with the word Taylor inscribed which I hadn’t seen before. Paul conducted us as the bells were rung up & we rang Grandsire Doubles, called changes, Reverse Canterbury & Bob Minor.
St Nicholas’ Church, Wickham 6 bells 9 cwt. There was no-one to let us in, but a kindly churchwarden found the vicar who had a key. We found out the next day, that the reason we hadn’t been expected was that the web-site, through which the booking had to be made, was not working**.
The 9 cwt six were a pleasure to ring, although access via a steep wooden staircase and narrow hatch in the floor was somewhat undignified. The south transept of the 12th century flint church contains the Uvedale Monument. This imposing 17th century stone and alabaster memorial includes effigies of Sir William Uvedale, his wife and their nine children. There was also a display of items relating to William of Wickham, one-time Bishop of Winchester and founder of Winchester School.
St. John the Baptist. Shedfield 8 bells 13 cwt. (pictured above) The tower originally held 6 bells, cast by Taylors. Two more were added in 1941 & rang for the first time to celebrate the victory in the battle of Alemein in 1942. There is a superb embroidery displayed on the north wall of the nave in the church which was stitched by ladies of the parish to celebrate the millennium.
We rang our usual repertoire of Grandsire, called changes & plain hunt before ringing down & repairing to a nearby hostelry for lunch.
Lunch at the Rising Sun, Swanmore, was a delicious leisurely affair accompanied by much chatting & laughter. A rendition of Happy Birthday was sung to mark Richard Samuel’s birthday.
We rang at the flint clad church of St Barnabas Swanmore 6 bells 7 cwt. This church was just down the road from the pub where we had lunch. Hung in 1984, the ring of 6 bells allowed us to ring Stedman and Bob doubles, rounds and called changes – Jan ringing ‘away from home’ for the first time! An attempt at Kent Treble Bob Minor was made……under a peal board which included the present Winchester Cathedral tower captain…..but we did enjoy the bells.
St Peters Church, Bishops Waltham 8 bells 8 cwt
This was an open light church with a beautiful stained glass window. The man who let us in was keen to point out the wall plaque with 3 cannon balls which dates from the tome of Oliver Cromwell 1640. The 8 bells were a ground floor ring . The spider was a wrought iron construction which resembled a crown which was originally used to hang chickens for plucking. On the wall of the belfry were two wooden carts which were used to transport coffins into the church. The grounds surrounding the church were well kept and beautiful. The church appeared to be used as a concert venue also with piano and audio system. Our ringing had improved a bit by now as we rang Grandsire & Bob Triples.
All Saints Botley 6 bells 7 cwt.
By now the rain had set in but in the small ringing chamber we rang our last programme of the day. An extension had been added to the church in 2007 which contained a beautiful wooden sculpture “In Christ Alone”, which had been designed & carved by the previous rector. The wood was yew & was taken from a tree that had been felled to make room for the modern extension.
By all accounts we had a most enjoyable outing although our ringing has been known to be a lot better!
With thanks to all those who contributed to this report.
** This fault has been subsequently corrected!