All Saints’ Bells
The bells at All Saints Church in Fawley, can be heard prior to the 09:30 or 10:00 services on most Sundays.
They are also regularly rung for other events, like weddings, Christmas, other feast days and special local/national occasions.
There are also some striking competitions held in All Saints’ between churches in the neighbourhood. The church also hosts visits from other bellringing towers, they come to experience ringing in a different location and with different bells.
The bells at All Saints’ are rung by an enthusiastic team of ringers.
A brief history of the bells at All Saints’ Fawley
Many ancient churches still have working bells that were cast in the 1600’s, which are still around today. Indeed, All Saints’ has two such bells that were cast in that period.
The oldest is the number four bell. There is evidence of earlier bells than those listed. The parish records state: “in 1662 three bells were re-hung”.
In 1909, there were still only four bells in the tower. At that time, the bells were re-hung by John Warner & Sons of London, with new fittings and framework and two further bells were added to augment the ring to the six we currently have today. At this time, the bells were rung from the ground floor.
During 1966, the bells were again re-hung by Mears & Stainbank of London, using new fittings and bearings and at the same time a ringing chamber was constructed and dedicated at first floor level.
All Saints’ Bellringers
The bells underwent a complete re-hang in 2007, with new bearings, headstocks, clappers, wheels, stays, sliders and running boards being fitted. The work was carried out by the Bellhanger – Robert Parker of Taunton in Somerset.
Church bellringing in the English style is an art and science which has its origins from around the 16th Century.
The art of handling a bell has remained the same since that time but the science has gradually expanded and continues to do so.
As engineering has improved so has the the ease with which Church bells can be rung, enabling everyone to manage most bells.
The skill is still required but not so much strength so that it is quite normal for young people from the age of 12 to start, and for some to be still ringing in their 80s!
There are lots of different levels of ringers at All Saints’, so everyone at any level of development will be catered for at practices and on Sunday mornings. No matter what stage you’re at in ringing, just starting off or advanced you’ll always be made to feel wanted and appreciated.
You learn how to control a bell and then pulling it in time with others. When this has been mastered, the bellringer then learns to ring in different orders, Call Changes.
When you are happy with your performance at this then there are Methods (tunes to non-ringers) which can be learnt.
There are many many methods which can keep the interest alive for a long time. Concentration and a sense of rhythm help to speed your development in the skill of ringing – patience and perseverance can also help, as it can take months to achieve.
Why not join the bellringers at All Saints’ Fawley?
Bell ringing is a team activity that stimulates the brain and helps keep you fit … it also makes a glorious sound! Many consider ringing to be their contribution to church life, others do it for the pure pleasure and the company it brings.
At All Saints’ there are ringers of many different levels, so everyone at any level of development will be catered for at practices and on Sunday mornings. No matter what stage you’re at in ringing, just starting off or advanced you’ll always be made to feel wanted and appreciated.
Bell ringing is a skill, it does not require much strength so that it is quite suitable for all people from teens to our more senior years to enjoy. Make no mistake, bell ringing is an enthralling fascinating ancient art – you do get hooked and like any other pastime its requires commitment, teamwork and regular practice.
Give it a go and help to continue this art. To come and see if you would like it – join us on a Thursday evening ringing practice, usually between 19:30 and 21:00, you will be very welcome or contact our Bell Tower Secretary
Lawrence Clark – Telephone: 023 8084 3662 or 07711 577919
Or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org