All posts by yaldea

PURBROOK – St John the Baptist. No ringing for now.

It has unfortunately been decided to stop ringing, both for the Sunday service and Wednesday Evening practice, as part of precautions considered under the present worldwide Corona Virus outbreak.

Arrangements are in hand to extend the tenor bell to allow tolling from the ground floor. Normal ringing will be resumed as soon as it is thought sensible to do so.

Portsmouth District Quarterly Meeting at Shedfield.

Last Saturday 21st April at St John the Baptist Shedfield 30+ Ringers from the district gathered to ring the 8 bells (12cwt).

This was followed by an Evensong Service with suitable ringer’s hymns, prayers and readings while sat in the choir stalls.

Betty Daish and her team then provided a superb tea, set up in the well furnished study centre which was very popular with all.

Finally the QDM meeting, chair by Brian Baverstock which he progressed speedily through the standard agenda. One item that was proposed and accepted, was that for this and all future district meetings the service collection would be passed to a charity of the host tower’s choice. In this instance the £55.10 raised was delivered to the Rowan’s Hospice.

Further Ringing followed to end an excellent Saturday afternoon’s entertainment.

International Guild of Knot Tyers meet the W and P Guild of Bellringers.

Ken Yalden, from the International Guild of Knot Tyers (IGKT) Solent Branch lead an evening teaching church bell rope splicing, to 22 ringers from the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocese, in the beautiful Undercroft building at Winchester Cathedral.
Supported by 8 knotters from IGKT ringers learnt how to tie clove hitches, constrictor knots and how to shortsplice.
As whenever you are enjoying yourselves time ran out quickly and the event looks set to be repeated some time soon.
Sustenance, provided by Christine.Knights-Whittome, of the The Guild Education Committee, in the form of cake and coffee kept the evening efforts flowing along nicely.


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Purbrook’s Sound Control

An important part of the bell installation, because of the close proximity of neighbouring houses, was a sound control system to reduce the sound level during practice and other similar events.

The belfry has louvred window frames and sound boards are closed by a cord and pulley system from the clock room.

The boards are hinged at the bottom edge.

The cord system heads one floor below.

Draft excluder is fitted to the edges, which also stops sound leaks. It is noticible that passing traffic is much quieter in the belfry with the sound control closed.

Purbrook Tower and friends visit St Giles Imber.

A weekly planning meeting at the George Inn, Widley following a  Wednesday night practice expanded on the idea of a Good Friday trip to ring at St. Giles Church,  Imber.

Tony made contact and arranged a Good Friday 11o’clock window for our visit.  Three cars set off.

The Girl’s car  ( Bev, Jan and Blanche ) and the Boy’s car  (Tony, Bill, Alan and Allan ) met and made a comfort/coffee stop at Waitrose, Salisbury.  A mobile phone call  confirmed that car 3 ( Rachel, Theo and Heather.) were already at Lavington.

A circuitous route to avoid a temporarily closed road culminated in a mile or so of road more suited to the army tank users.

Finally arriving at St Giles we realised that there were to be a large number of spectators for our ringing.  An Easter egg hunt  and the limited number of days Imber was not being used by the army had attracted a lot of families. The church had been set up as a coffee/tea  shop and the ground floor ringing chamber was clearly visible behind a beautiful and old  open wood wall and door.

A set of very light bells, (tenor 2cwt-2qr-15ibs ) according to Dove, an anti clockwise ring and a long draft. ” Let the fun begin”!

Uppinghams showed us that tender care would be needed , as was concentration not took look the ‘wrong way’ as we pulled off.

Keeping it to what the team could manage, rounds and call changes, Grandsire , Bob Doubles and Stedman were all achieved although a number of bells/ringers suddenly deciding to have a ‘moment’ just to keep us on our toes.

Painted on one of the walls of the tower was what is thought to be one of the oldest listing of call changes known to survive.

Conversations with the spectators were manifold and would have been a golden opportunity for recruitment given the number of phones and cameras stuck through the fence whilst we were ringing.

Having said our thanks and goodbyes we headed to the The Churchill Arms, West Lavington, this time the bumpy road was avoided, and  pretty respectable pub lunch  and a beer or two were imbibed.

Traffic on the way home to Portsmouth District was typical for a sunny Good Friday but thanks to Sally Satnav the worst congestion was avoided.

Thanks  to Tony for the organisation and he also he has put a fine selection of photographs here.

Purbrook Ringing Practice Cancelled, the Wednesday of Holy Week

There is no Ringing Practice this coming Wednesday at St John the Baptist, Purbrook.

Purbrooks Bells will be ringing at 9:30am for the 10am service, for both this coming Sunday and Easter Sunday.

Our ringers are also attending the Portsmouth District Skittles Evening on Tues 11th April at Southwick Golf Club! If you have yet to let me know you are coming contact me please.

see details

The first draw of the revived 200 Club

The first draw of the revived 200 Club took place this morning after the Guild Executive Committee meeting. A total of £180 had been received to date, giving £90 to go to the Training & Development Fund and £90 to be split for prizes. These were drawn as follows:

Prize    % of Prize    Fund Amount      Winning number          Prizewinner
First           50%      £45                           14              Rosalind  Brandwood
Second       20%      £18                             5   Christine Knights-Whittome
Third          10%      £9                             29                           Aila Peacock
Fourth        10%       £9                              8                 Mike Winterbourne
Fifth            5%        £4.50                         9          Margaret Winterbourne
Sixth           5%        £4.50                         3                     Alexander Gray
The next draw will take place on Saturday 17th June 2017 at the Guild AGM at Milford on Sea. Moneys received between now and the AGM will go into that draw, including any standing orders not yet shown in my last bank statement. Please send me your forms, which may be found on the Guild website under ‘200 Club’.

Robin Milford

Purbrook’s Gillett and Johnston Tower Clock

The drainpipe channels the rope of the two bell through the clock. On the floor is the silent hours solenoid and the bicycle chain drives the  electromechanical winding.

The clock is of the order of 130 years old. Previously to the instalation of the ‘new’ Whitechapel Bells in 1999 the clock had to be hand wound and the long drop weights for the hour strike and clock hands reached down to the ground floor.

After the ringing chamber floor and staircase were installed there was no room for the long drop and an electromechanical system was designed and installed by G&J up alongside the refurbished clock.

As part of this system a timer controlled solenoid enabled a silent hours period for the clock striking.

The clock is a smaller but similar design to the clock in Elizabeth Tower of the Palace of Westminster. Erroneously called by some as BigBen which of course is the hour striking bell known world wide courtesy of its use by the BBC. After a visit to see the clock and the Big Ben bell we were lucky enough be alongside the larger clock when it struck and were surprised to here the whirring and clunks of the striking mechanism were very similar to those “at home”.

Top of the pendulum.

Purbrook’s clock timekeeping is remarkably good and  to keep it thus weights are added/removed occasionally either side at the top of the pendulum as can be seen here.

The narrow slit window, half way up the tower, “illuminates” the clock room.

The clock drives the hands on two faces. One looks out to the nearby A3 road and the other is over the church porch door.


Until 1998 the parish possessed a single bell cast in 1892 by Mears & Stainbank of Whitechapel The bell measured 35 3/8 ” in diameter and weighed approximately 8cwt, The bell was hung in an oak bell frame designed and constructed to house four bells, though only the single bell was ever installed and that was hung with full-circle ringing fittings.

As its contribution to the forthcoming millennium celebrations, the parish launched a project to replace the, original single bell with a ring of 6 bells hung for change-ringing. Valuable financial assistance was obtained from the Ringing in the Millennium Project, supported by funds from the National lottery, as well as from other charitable sources.

In 1998 Nicholson Engineering commenced the dismantling of the old bell installation and the design and construction of the new bell-frame and fittings. The original bell together with its frame and fittings was taken to Buscot in Oxfordshire where it forms the core of a restored ring of four. The original clapper was presented back to us and is to be seen on the east window sill of the Nave.

Installation of the new bell-frame, bells and fittings began on 24th May, 1999 when the new bells were delivered to the church, all being completed ready for the first tryout of the new bells on Friday II” June, 1999.

The bells each have inscriptions as below

Special Ringing

bells-at-purbrook-2Purbrook Ringers provide a Sunday Service band each week for the half hour before the morning service, for which we practice weekly (see times). We also ring on special occasions such as wedding and anniversary services. By arrangement and in support of the church building fundraising we are willing to ring in celebration of your special day. On these special occasions we will provide a certificate recognising the event as shown below.

For More Information: