St Mary’s Bellringers

On 18 September 2021 St Mary’s team once more were the winners of the Furminger Trophy!
The post about it can be found here.

When St Mary’s bells are rung

Sundays from 10 – 10.30 am before the morning service;
Wednesday evenings from 7.45 – 9 pm (practice evening);
Weddings, funerals, national celebrations.

For anyone with a hankering to hear the bells during the COVID-19 silence, here is a sound clip from a 2013 recording made in the ringing chamber, with audible change calling.

St Mary’s bells are rung regularly by the team headed by tower captain Adrienne Wood. If you are interested in the subject of church bell ringing and would like to know more, please contact her through the above link and she would be delighted to help.
Regular bell ringing practice is weekly on Wednesdays, from 7.45 pm. It lasts on and off for about an hour until 9 pm.

In addition to the regular bell ringing before the morning service and the weekly evening practice sessions, it is possible to arrange to have the bells rung to celebrate a wedding or to have a single, half-muffled, tolling bell to announce a funeral.
Please contact our Rector for further information.

There are times when bell ringers from other towers are invited to ring, either as part of a general visit or to attempt a peal. When these special occasions arise, a notice is posted on the News page of this site to inform our neighbours.

General information about bell ringing in English parishes can be found on the web site of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringing .
Any issues about bell ringing should in the first instance be addressed to the Rector.

2017/18 overview

Another successful year for Wivenhoe Bellringers. We have continued to ring regularly for Sunday services, (albeit that on one Sunday in October 2017 the bells were silent, which was probably the first time since Erwin came to Wivenhoe, as October proved to be the month when everyone decided it was time to go on holiday). Wednesday evening Practice nights are also a permanent fixture in the calendar. Many other towers throughout the country often struggle to have sufficient ringers to ring for Sunday services, let alone hold a regular practice night, so we are privileged.

Some new faces joined us this year too, experienced ringers, plus one learner. At times we could do with a few more bells, and larger tower, as we often have ringers from other towers attending our practice evenings. If you are interested in finding out about bellringing, please contact Adrienne Wood.

Two of us were participants in the 2017 Essex Ringing Course, held annually on three days during the Easter holidays. Heather attended the Plain Bob Doubles Course, and Adrienne was a helper on the Stedman course. Ringing takes place at towers throughout Essex, including Wivenhoe. Paul, Fred and Simon attended the 2018 Course and again Adrienne volunteered as a helper.

As a tower we ventured further afield into Suffolk and spent two pleasant Saturdays ringing at other towers, one in the Spring and the other in the Autumn. This gives invaluable experience to the ringers, as each ring of bells in each tower is unique and provides a challenge as well as a convivial day out in the countryside. The ‘social’ side of ringing also extends to us supporting local pubs and coffee shops.

Fortunately we receive far more compliments than complaints from the local community. However, we continue to be mindful of the close proximity of the tower to local businesses and residences, and the possibility of causing disturbance. As a consequence, we endeavour to publicise when the bells are to be rung at times different from our usual times to maintain our good relationship with the community.

We all feel fortunate to be part of such a great group of people, enjoying a skill whose tradition goes back hundreds of years. We are fortunate to have the unswerving support of Erwin our Rector, and his congregation, and look forward to continue to serve our community for generations to come.

updated August 2018

Dickie Furminger Trophy

Every year the Essex Association of Change Ringers organises a competition for ringers to compete for the Dickie Furminger Trophy. In 2014 the competition was held at St George’s church, Great Bromley on Saturday 21 June.

Ten people signed up to take part, so this meant that we could enter 2 teams – the first called the “Ding” team made up of 6 members and the remaining 4, together with a pair of kind ringers from another local church, made up the “Dong” team.

Many of us had not rung in any competition before so it was with some trepidation that we arrived for the event. The sun was shining, the birds singing and the church standing solidly in the rose-decked churchyard – the epitome of a perfect rural summer afternoon!

The teams were drawn from ringers from Harwich, Mistley, Ardleigh, Great Bentley and Colchester St Leonard as well as us from Wivenhoe.
The competition judge – a very experienced ringer, was dispatched into the nearby Rectory gardens so he couldn’t see any comings and goings of the team members and the draw for the order to ring was made.

The rules were that each team had two minutes to practice and make any adjustments needed. As the church was one that most of us had not rung in before, it was important to check if we needed to stand on a box to make the correct height comfortable to ring, and to feel how the bells themselves handled.
St George’s bells were much heavier than the ones we were used to – the biggest bell, the tenor being 15cwt compared with 7cwt at St Mary’s.

Once the teams had had their designated two minutes warm up, monitored carefully by an official timekeeper in the bell chamber, the actual competition began and there was a further five minutes for the teams to ring their best, changing the order of the bells as called by one of the team – hence the name of the competition “Call Changes”. The idea is to ring steadily and smoothly, listening carefully to the other ringers and produce a perfectly struck, rhythmic sound.
Although the bells were heavier, we all found that they were a real joy to ring….. Indeed if they had a car equivalent, I think most of us would have equated them as being of the Rolls Royce variety!

Once each team had rung their 5 minutes competition piece, the judge returned from among the raspberry canes in the Rectory gardens, gave comments about each individual team – known to him only as Team 1, Team 2 etc – and gave the results.
St Mary’s ringers were delighted as they had come in first AND second place, so were able to celebrate this achievement and enjoy the barbecue that was provided.

We returned to Wivenhoe with the trophy which will remain in pride of place until next year when, I am sure, there will be many ringers ready to defend our title!
Enjoy the pictures of the event, shown below. Clicking on the first picture will start the slide show.
** The 10th member of the team – Ant Woolnough isn’t in the photo as he had to make a quick exit for another appointment.

1 Response to St Mary’s Bellringers

  1. Kaye Coyle says:

    So nice to see my dad’s trophy still being competed for.


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