Photograph © Lee Alexander

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St. Michael and All Angels Church, Bell-Ringers

 

           

 

The tower at Newnham Church has a ring of six bells, all dating from the mid 17th century. The lightest bell - no.1 (in sets of rings always named the Treble) weighs 5cwt 8lbs (258kilos) and the heaviest - no.6 (always named the Tenor) weighs 13cwt 1lb (661kilos). In order that ringing may proceed it is always necessary to ring the bells from the 'down(at-rest) position to the 'up' (ready-to-ring position) - as photographs. In the early days, as shown above right, Newnham church bells were rung from the open space beneath the tower. In 1939-1940 the bells were retuned and re-hung, the ropes being repositioned within the tower itself. The current band, seen below, consists of a lively group of people of all ages and from diverse backgrounds. With the exception of one person who lives in Everdon, we all live in Newnham. Practice takes place on Tuesdays from 8:00pm to 9:00pm and you'll nearly always see us at the Romer Arms afterwards - it's very thirsty work!  The object of the exercise is of course, to ring for a half-hour before Sunday-Service, for weddings and other services that may take place at the church; in 2005 we rang for a half-hour to commemorate the bi-centenary of the Battle of Trafalgar on 21st October.  However, it is also common practice to meet up with other ringers at other towers and also take part in ringing-tours in other parts of the country. It has been the privilege of many of our number to ring at some of the finest towers in the country: Lincoln, Bristol, Peterborough, Southwark, Gloucester and Liverpool cathedrals as well as beautiful churches such as St.Mary Redcliffe - Bristol, Beverley Minster and the famous St.Mary-le-Bow (the Bow Bells) in Cheapside, London.

It is a very social exercise. As a group we also enjoy some non-ringing events each year: a Christmas Dinner at The Romer Arms, a pantomime in Northampton and a barbeque in Newnham in the summer.

To ensure that Newnham bells are kept ringing, we are always looking to recruit new members - it can take a lot of time and perseverance to learn to ring but I can assure you that the rewards are great. Any adult is welcome to learn but children (for reasons of height and size) need to be aged ten or over. So, come and join us at the tower on Tuesdays and enjoy learning what is almost exclusively an English art. See you there!

 

 Bell-ringing really is a really different experience. Why don't you give it a try? You might be surprised!

 

For details on how to become a Bell-Ringer please call, Bob Sinclair, Tel: 01327-877874.

 

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