Posts Tagged ‘bell ringers’

Rules for ringers – 1876

June 5, 2016

The transcribed document below lists the rules for church bell ringers some 140 years ago. Some of these rules have been relaxed but it makes total sense not to be dosed up with alcohol when ringing


  1. That the number of ringers shall not be less than eight, nor more than twelve.
  2. That no person be appointed as a ringer who is not a member of the Church of England, or without the approval of the Vicar and Churchwardens.
  3. That one of the ringers be appointed foreman, who shall be responsible for the conduct of the ringers, and have power to enforce the observance of all these rules and regulations.
  4. That there shall be a Treasurer who shall take charge of all monies from any source and on any occasion during the year (except weddings or any other gifts over twenty shillings, the surplus to go to the general fund).That such money shall remain in his hands until the end of the year when it shall be divided among all the ringers, share and share alike provided, nevertheless, that any ringer leaving the company from any reasonable cause shall be entitled to his share of the money in hand at the time of his leaving when the money is annually divided, but any ringer expelled for misconduct shall forfeit all claim to such share.
  5. That no ringer be admitted into the belfry, or be allowed to ring the bells, if he is in a state of intoxification, or in any degree under the influence of drink.
  6. That no smoking, drinking, swearing or profane language of any kind be permitted in the Belfry on any pretence whatever, and that everyone shall reverently uncover his head on entering the Church.
  7. That the bells be chimed on Sundays, and on the great festivals of the Church before each service. The ringers to take their part in chiming in regular turn.
  8. That on Sundays the ringers come to Church properly dressed, and unless there is a reasonable cause, they shall join the congregation in the services to which they have summoned the people.
  9. That on any occasion when doubt may arise as to the propriety of ringing the bells, the foreman shall first obtain consent of the Vicar, or in his absence of the Churchwardens, before the bells be rung.
  10. That in case of any dispute arising from the ringers, it shall be referred to the Vicar and Churchwardens whose decision shall be final.
  11. That the By-laws of the ringers shall not be liable to any alteration without the sanction of three fourths of the whole body of Ringers.
  12. That Mr. Churchwarden Grist be appointed Treasurer.

We the undersigned, Ringers of Market Lavington, hereby express our approval of the foregoing rules and Regulations, and promise to observe them-

Foreman; Richard Heiron. Ringers; John Merritt, William King, H.A. Canning, James Hiscock, John Lanham, James Gye, William Potter, James Neate, Charles Richard Burns, W.S. Hussey

One word of advice;

Ringers, remember this; that nothing can keep you together but sobriety of character and harmony among yourselves. Without these you will be like a rope of sand, doomed to drop to pieces and leave your cheerful Tower in sullen silence.

E.C.Brace, Priest in charge 22nd. February 1876

Many surnames amonst that 1876 list of ringers can still be found in the village. These days, if ringing were a 100% male preserve there would never be an adequate team. Indeed, the captain of the Market Lavington team is a woman. In fact five of the nine home ringers are female. It is, of course, good to report that ringing still goes on in the village.


A Golden Wedding Celebration

May 20, 2016

How does a bell ringer celebrate his Golden Wedding? Well in the case of Tom Gye, one way was to have the bells of St Mary’s rung to mark the occasion. A group of six ringers rang a quarter peal of Grandsire Doubles. That’s 1260 changes and it takes around 40 minutes. The Gyes, Tom and Peggy had some cards printed to remember the event and we have one of them in the museum.

Commemorating the quarter peal rung for the Golden Wedding of Tom and Peggy Gye

Commemorating the quarter peal rung for the Golden Wedding of Tom and Peggy Gye

The card says it all. It gives the date of 4th December 1990 and tells us who rang which bell. Bell six, the tenor, was rung by Tom and Peggy’s son, Johnathan. He, like Maurice Baker is, sadly, no longer with us.

Of the other ringers, Sylvia Young is now the Tower Captain and Derick Bailey is seen most practice nights at the tower. Sylvia’s son, Robbie, lives away from Lavington now but sometimes rings when he visits his parents. Rosemary Anderson also lives well away but has rung when visiting the area.

So ringing goes on still in the village and our curator, who is also a ringer, says it is an enjoyable social activity offering a bit of physical exercise and also doing the brain good as you learn new methods.


Bell ringers of 1950

December 14, 2014

Bell ringing still goes on in Market Lavington but today we are looking at a slightly reduced team from 1950. There are six bells in the tower at St Mary’s and here we see five ringers taking a rest just outside the church.

Market Lavington bell ringers of 1950

Market Lavington bell ringers of 1950

Back then bell ringing seemed to be very much a male preserve and here we see a collection of men who seem a bit overdressed for the exertions associated with ringing. One chap has dispensed with the tie but perhaps it is the jacket which seems a singularly unsuitable garment for ringing.

The captioning for this image is another one that is not as good as it might be. The person on the left is just given the name Bailey. Then we have Jack Saxton and Tom Gye is sitting on the fence. Next is Melville Bailey and Bert Shore is on the right. He was married to Flo Burbidge who had been born (back in 1908) in our museum building.

Tom Gye was still ringing into the 21st century.

Just for the record here’s the team with some from Potterne at ringing the bells in November 2014.


Bell ringers at Market Lavington – November 2014