St. Peter's Church, Bournemouth, now possesses a magnificent peal of eight bells with tenor of 20 cwt. 2 qr. 7 lb. in E. The peal has been recast and tuned on the "true-harmonic" system, rehung in the old frame on modern fittings by Messrs. John Taylor and Co., of Loughborough. Thus the bells have received long delayed attention which has transformed them into one of the finest eights on the South Coast.
When the work was first discussed about a year ago it was felt, in view of the precarious state of the church funds, that work of rehanging the peal alone could be considered. Even this project suffered a setback when the church finances were examined at the end of the year, but the desire to install a Sacring bell in memory of the late Archdeacon A. E. Daldy, Vicar of St. Peter's for 16 years, brightened the prospects of restoration considerably.
The bells were originally cast by Messrs. Taylor in 1870, and, having heard them, Mr. E. Denison Taylor strongly recommended that they should be recast. Further, he supported his recommendation with a most generous offer to bear half the cost of such work. The Vicar, Canon Hedley Burrows, thus encouraged by practical sympathy, launched his appeal to the townspeople for the balance to enable complete restoration of the town's only peal of bells to commemorate Coronation year, 1937. He received the full support of the Coronation Mayor, Alderman T. V. Rebbeck, with the happy result that Capt. H. B. Norton came forward to complete the fund with a generous cheque for £400. Other sums received since that date from various organisations have allowed for restoration of the belfry and other necessary extra work to ensure the completeness of the peal.
The rededication service took place on Saturday last, the Lord Bishop of Winchester (Dr. Cyril Forster Garbett) officiating and giving the address. The service was fully choral and the church filled to capacity. After an opening hymn, "Unchanging God who livest," prayers were offered by the Vicar; the Rural Dean (the Rev. F. C. Learoyd) read the lesson, and to the singing of a special hymn, "Ring out new hope and love and power," the Bishop proceeded to the west door beneath the tower for the rededication ceremony. He was escorted by the Vicar, the churchwardens, Messrs. E. Denison Taylor, J. P. Fidler and V. G. Newton. After the ceremony under the tower the procession re-formed and returned to the sanctuary during the singing of Walmisley's anthem, "From all that dwell below the skies." In the sanctuary the Bishop dedicated the Sacring bell and struck it by pressing the electric control. Rounds were then rung on the tower bells by the local company of ringers.
The Bishop delivered an interesting and appropriate address on the uses of bells, saying that where, in distant lands, the Christian faith was hated and oppressed, no bells were heard. For another cause, he said, bells were not heard in our country, a country noted for its bells. It was because in many newly-developed areas there were as yet no churches in which to hang the bells. He appealed to the large congregation to support his effort to supply the need for new churches and halls in the diocese, a need which was felt almost within sound of the rededicated bells - in North Bournemouth.
During the singing of the hymns, "Now thank we all our God" and "Praise the Lord, ye heavens adore Him," a collection was taken for the Bishop's appeal. The service concluded with the National Anthem, and whilst the congregation was dispersing Mr. J. D. Chandler, Mus.Bac., F.R.C.O., played the very appropriate "Carillon" by Vierne on the organ.
The first "touch" on the recast bells was rung by the following members of the local company: Messrs. H. Osborne, R. Dear, F. Frankland Rigby, H. Roberts, W. Garrett, C. R. Forfitt, P. W. Witham and A. V. Davis. Tea was then served at the Alexandra Hall, about 250 guests sitting down.
In a short speech, the Deputy Mayor, Alderman T. V. Rebbeck, outlined the launching of the appeal and the success it met with, thanking the donors, particularly Capt. H. B. Norton and Mr. E. Denison Taylor, for their generosity, which resulted in the Parish Church of Bournemouth possessing such a magnificent peal of bells.
The Vicar addressed the gathering in his usual cheery manner and explained the inscriptions he had had placed on the bells. He concluded by thanking the captain of the local company, Mr. Arthur V. Davis, for his assistance in all matters pertaining to the work.
Mr. Davis responded on behalf of the ringers, saying that he knew his colleagues of St. Peter's tower felt that their duty now lay perfectly clearly before them, to keep the bells of Bournemouth's Parish Church well and regularly rung.
Ringers numbering about 80 were present from all parts of two counties of Hants and Dorset, and the bells were kept going until 8.30 to Grandsire and Stedman Triples, Plain Bob and Kent Treble Bob Major, Cambridge, Superlative and London Surprise, the striking being of high order throughout.
Among those present were Mr. G. Williams (Master of the Winchester and Portsmouth Guild), the Rev. R. H. Dundry (Master of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild), Mr. W. Andrews, Mr. G. Preston, Mr. A. F. Martin Stewart, the Rev. Eddrupp and the Rev. E. A. Phillips (Salisbury Guild), Mr. F. W. Townsend, Mr. F. W. Rogers (hon. secretary of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild), Mr. W. Cheater, the Rev. E. P. Farrow, Mr. E. C. Elliott and ringers from Southampton, Portsmouth, Winchester, Ringwood, Christchurch, Bournemouth, St. John's, Poole, Wareham, Dorchester, Wyke Regis, Sturminster, Blandford, Wimborne, Kington Magna, etc.
The interesting inscriptions on the bells are as follow:-
Treble (The People's Bell).- "Jesus be our speed."
2 (The Founders' and Vicar's Bell).- "In memoriam fundatoris. Alexander Morden Bennett."
3 (The Town Bell or Marriage Bell).- "Pulchritudo et Salubritas" (Bournemouth's motto).
4 (The Winchester Bell).- "Manners Makyth Man."
5 (The Peace Bell).- "Peace from Him, which is, and which was, and which is to come."
6 (The Coronation Bell).- "God save King George, 1937. Mon Dieu, Mon Roi, Mon Cœur."
7 (The Passing Bell).- "Esto Fidelis Usque ad mortem et Dabo Tibi Coronam Vitæ."
Tenor (The Resurrection Bell).- "In memoriam, Mary Ellen Norton, 1936."
Sacring bell (10 cwt. in G) (The Bell of the Incarnation).- "In memoriam. Alfred Edward Daldy, Vicar, 1904-1920, St. Peter, St. Swithun. Sanctus. Sanctus. Sanctus."
The Ringing World No. 1392, November 26, 1937, page 789
The first anniversary of the rededication of the ring of eight bells at St. Peter's Church, Bournemouth, after their complete restoration in 1937 by Messrs. Taylor and Co., was marked on Sunday, November 20th, by the dedication of two peal tablets during evensong.
The ceremony was performed by the Vicar (Canon Hedley Burrows), who afterwards addressed the congregation, taking for his text the inscription he placed on the "Peace Bell" - No. 5 - "Peace from Him, Which was, Which is and Which is to come. " Special prayers were offered prior to the dedication, which was concluded with the singing of one of the hymns used at the rededication of the peal a year ago.
The first tablet recorded the first peal rung in Bournemouth - 5,040 Grandsire Triples - in three hours on December 26th, 1891. Of the band which rang this peal, Messrs. George Preston and James G. Bennett were present. The late Mr. John W. Whiting, of Fareham, conducted Holt's Ten-Part peal on that occasion. The second tablet recorded the first peal on the restored bells, rung by the local company on May 28th of this year. Ringing took place both before and after evensong in methods up to Double Norwich Major.
The Ringing World No. 1444, November 25th, 1938, page 762