The Diocesan Guild of Change Ringers are to be complimented on the appropriate and worthy manner in which they have commemorated their fellow-members who laid down their lives in the Great War. Two new treble bells have been added to the existing ring of ten in the Mother Church of the Diocese, and an oak tablet has been placed on the wall of the Cathedral belfry recording the names of the fallen. The message of the bells will be heard far and near by all, but the tablet will be mostly seen by ringers and their friends, because the number of the general public who ascend to the Cathedral belfry is but small, At the same time, no more suitable situation could have been selected, and the decision to expend the greater portion of the money raised upon improving the Cathedral ring of bells, rather than erect a more or less elaborate tablet, was both generous and practical. The new bells were cast by Messrs. Gillett and Johnston, of Croydon, the firm who did the successful work at St. Maurice Church, Winchester, two years ago, and of which The Architect says they “can justly claim to be in the forefront of the bell and clock makers of the world.” During the war, Messrs. Gillett and Johnston’s immense factory was devoted to the production of fuses. The firm erected the first carillon (a machine by which the bells are played from a keyboard or clavier) in England, at Boston “Stump,” a church which has a tower 365 feet high, but one of their more recent works was the re-casting of the famous Royal Exchange bells. The two trebles at Winchester Cathedral have been tuned on the new five-tone Simpson principle of tuning, which was adopted in the case of the re-cast Royal Exchange bells, and is said to give that peal all the harmony of an organ. The system is named after Canon Simpson, late Rector of Fittleworth, Sussex, who investigated the subject, and evolved a principle by which new or re-cast bells can be guaranteed to sound as pure, as sweet in tone, and as accurate in tune, as any other musical instrument.
The oak tablet has a conspicuous position on the east wall, close to the ringers’ entrance to the Cathedral belfry, and was the workmanship of Messrs. Thomas & Co., of the Highcliffe Works, Winchester, from the design of Mr. G. H. Kitchin, architect. The names of the fifty-six men memorialised are incised on three panels, the centre panel being surmounted by the carving of a bell inscribed with the Arms of the See. The names are recorded in alphabetical order of the places of residence, and are as follows:-
G. Fisher, Aldershot.
W. Curtis, Alresford.
V. Brire, Alton.
P. Worsford, Alton.
H. Smart, Andover.
A. Knapp, Bagshot.
W. Woods, Bagshot.
F. Hutchings, Bishopstoke.
C. H. Money, Bishop’s Sutton.
A. Symonds, Bramley.
V. Street, Christchurch.
E. J. Wellstead, Curdridge.
A. Kirby, Deane.
F. Kirby, Deane.
R. Prince, Dibden.
R. Bishop, Dummer.
S. Terry, Farnborough.
P. Fowler, Frensham.
F. Dennis, Godshill, I. of W.
A. J. Boxall, Godalming.
W. Lawes, Godalming.
H. V. Whittington, Gosport.
A. V. Burdock, Guildford.
R. W. Melville, Guildford.
L. Ball, Hawley.
T. Harris, Hawley.
J. Millar, Hawley.
G. B. Edser, Hersham.
E. Hamblin, Hersham.
T. G. Banks, Lymington.
W. E. Gilmour, Lymington.
F. J. Cheverton, Newtown, I. of W.
J. Millgate, Newtown, I. of W.
P. Thompson, Pirbright.
F. A. Burrows, Portsmouth.
B. Hoptrough, Portsmouth.
A. C. Tithiredge, Shedfield.
W. Daniels, Sparsholt.
J. E. Buckle, Southampton.
P. E. Morfee, Southampton.
W. Birge, Stratfieldsaye.
J. Birge, Stratfieldsaye.
A. Broadhurst, Stratfieldsaye.
C. Kersley, Stratfieldsaye.
J. Series, Stratfieldsaye.
W. H. Wood, Walton-on-Thames.
R. Blake, West Clandon.
A. Savage, West Clandon.
C. Savage, West Clandon.
J. Bray, Whitchurch.
F. Gates, Whitchurch.
A. Pare, Whitchurch.
C. H. Russell, Winchester.
J. Deakin, Worplesdon.
A. Licence, Worplesdon.
C. Butler, Yateley.
Above the names are the words: “For the Comrades who died for us, 1914-1918;” and at the foot: “The Guild dedicates the Trebles, 1921.”
The new bells before being placed in position were dedicated by the Bishop of Winchester.
For the unveiling and dedication of the tablet, and the first ringing of the bells, there was a short service in the belfry on Saturday afternoon. The then Mayor of Winchester (Alderman Arthur R. Dyer) kindly came up to unveil the tablet, and the dedication was by the Rev. Canon Braithwaite, the prayers being said by Minor Canon N. C. Woods, and the lesson by Rev. C. E. Matthews, Milford-on-Sea, President of the Guild. There was a representative muster of ringers from various towers in the Diocese, and a few ladies had made the ascent. Mr. Cyril F. Johnston (of the firm of Messrs. Gillett and Johnston) and Mr. J. Goldsmith, Editor of the Ringing World, were visitors. Others of the clergy present were Rev. Canon Madge, the Rev. W. E. Colchester (Hon. Treasurer of the Guild), and who was one of the ringers on the old ring of ten before the service), and the Rev. E. Bankes James (Lee-on-the-Solent).
Prayers were first said by Minor Canon Woods, and the lesson (Wisdom iii.) was read by the Rev. C. E. Matthews (who served in France as Chaplain to the Forces).
The Mayor then removed the Union Jack which was veiling the tablet, saying “In the name of the Winchester Diocesan Guild of Change Ringers I unveil this memorial tablet in memory of those members of the Guild who gave their lives for their King and country.”
After a prayer, Canon Braithwaite dedicated the tablet “To the Glory of God and in memory of His servants, our brother ringers of this Diocese, who fell in the Great War,” following with another prayer.
Canon Braithwaite then gave an address. He said it was to him a very great privilege that he had been allowed to dedicate the tablet, in memory of the ringers of that Diocese who fought for us and died for us in the Great War. It was a privilege to him a few years ago to conduct a service in that belfry in memory of one of their own ringers of that Cathedral Church, and now it was a great privilege to carry this on, and to have that tablet put up in their belfry as a permanent memorial and token of the ringers who gave themselves for England, for freedom, and for right in the Great War. He was also thankful to meet so many ringers that day from all parts of the Diocese, to greet them as workers for the Church which they and he loved. Sometimes ringers were not recognised, as they ought to be, as workers for the Church - they were out of sight, but they were not out of sound. But he was quite sure the ringers did a real work for God. He often heard it said “The bells have started; there are the bells,” and so people look up to the tower for the call that comes to them, the call to God. And surely, to all people who had musical ears - he wished he could pretend to that - to everyone who loved music - there he could join them - nothing was more beautiful than to hear well-rung bells, to mark the changes, to follow a bell as it goes up and down, with the great tenor speaking so regularly and steadily, and keeping all the bells in their right place? It was music anyone might love to hear. The clergy had a series of texts which spoke to them very clearly, and in one of St. Paul’s Epistles it was written “Thou that teachest another teaches thou not thyself?” And might he not say that there was the same kind of text, not written but clearly understood, appealing to the ringer “Thou who callest another to worship callest thou not thyself?” This was the message to the ringer, who sounded his bell o’er hill and dale, and called people and reminded others. We all knew the most beautiful picture of “The Angelus” by the French painter, Millet - the two peasants at work in a field who stand with bowed heads, because the bell in yonder steeple is sounding to prayer. And so they who might call others to prayer should call themselves also, remembering the reason why bells were hung and towers planned - that they might act as a summons, might help us not only to delight in the music of the bells, but hear the call as it comes through our ears to our hearts, and makes us feel that God is calling men to serve Him and to worship Him.
The hymn “Let Saints on earth” followed, and it was no less impressively sung by the little company within the walls of the Cathedral belfry unaccompanied, than when joined in by a vast congregation in the nave below led by the majestic tones of the organ. Canon Braithwaite gave the blessing - “.... And may the Blessing of God Almighty rest on you and upon every band of ringers in this Diocese, and on their work.”
This concluded the service, but the Mayor added a few words, remarking that he should like to say how greatly he appreciated the honour they had done him in asking him to unveil the memorial. It was the second time that week he had had the honour of taking part in a ceremony of a similar character, and that would probably be his last official act. The occasions had been a crown to memories of the past, which he thought must remain with them in the future. To him it had been a very sacred week, and he was sure that would be the feeling of them all. Might he express to them how highly he appreciated the work in which they (the ringers) were engaged. Canon Braithwaite had spoken to them of the message of the bells, a lesson we all should learn, and he had alluded to the music of the bells. The music of the bells was a charm which appealed to all who loved music. The music of the bells, as it came to him on Sunday mornings, and on other days of the week, had a charm that almost brought tears to his eyes. Their mission as ringers of the bell was one which came home to the hearts of people, reminding them of their duty, and of the call to worship in God’s house. When he heard the bells borne softly on the breeze of a lovely spring morning they brought to his mind the lines of the beautiful hymn, “Far, far away, like bells at evening pealing.” It might seem sentimental, but he thought it was justified. He again thanked them on his own behalf, and on behalf of the city, for their invitation and their work.
The ringers intimated their appreciation of the Mayor’s remarks.
Then the entire peal of bells were rung for the first time, the new trebles sounding distinctively. It was what is known as a “whole pull and stand,” the number corresponding with the names on the memorial tablet. The ringers were: (1), G. Williams, North Stoneham; (2), W. T. Tucker, North Stoneham; (3), Rev. E. Bankes James, Lee-on-the-Solent; (4), D. C. Williams, F.R.C.O., North Stoneham; (5), W. Lampard, the Cathedral; (6), J. W. Elkins, the Cathedral; (7), Wilfred Andrews, captain, the Cathedral; (8), - Miles, Camberley; (9), E. Lampard, the Cathedral; (10), C. Russell, the Cathedral; (11), A. H. Pulling, Guildford; (12), - Harding, Portsea.
Before the Mayor and Canon Braithwaite left the Cathedral, votes of thanks to them respectively were moved by Mr. J. W. Elkins, and accorded with hearty unanimity by the ringers and others present.
The ringers attended the service of evensong, which followed in the choir of the Cathedral.
SUGGESTION TO RE-CAST OTHER BELLS.
At five o’clock the members and a few friends had tea together at St. Maurice Hall, the Rev. W. E. Colchester being in the chair, and others present being the Rev. Minor Canon N. C. Woods (Hon. Gen. Sec. of the Guild), the Rev. E. Bankes James, Mr. Cyril F. Johnston (Messrs. Gillett and Johnston), Mr. G. Williams (Master), Mr. W. H. Loveland, J.P., Mr. Wilfred Andrews, Mr. J. W. Elkins, Mr. A. H. Pulling, Mr. G. H. Tucker (Hon Sec. for Winchester District), and others. Messrs. F. W. Holdaway and Son were caterers for the tea.
The tea was to be followed by the annual meeting of the Winchester district, but before this was proceeded with the CHAIRMAN said there were one or two Guild matters to which he wished to refer. First, they had not quite enough money to pay all their bills. Though Winchester had many claims made upon it, they were most grateful for the valuable effort which was made at the beginning of the week by Mr. and Mrs. N. C. Woods in issuing an appeal to the citizens, which had at present brought in £46 (applause). The next thing which occurred to him was whether secretaries of districts outside Winchester should try if they could get a little more, as they still wanted £25 or £30 - there was no doubt they should get more; in fact, he had received one or two sums since. Another matter to which Mr. Colchester called attention was the desirability of guides being provided for the bells, and he asked the representatives of districts if they would authorise Mr. Williams and himself to go into the matter, and to spend £12 - it would not be more than that - beyond the sum agreed in the contract (£365). As he had stated, they wanted about £25 more on the original amount, and with this £12 it would make £37. It would save time if the authority asked for could be given without having to wait for the general meeting in February.
A representative of the North Stoneham ringers mentioned he had £1 14s. 6d. to pay over to the fund obtained by penny collections on practice nights, and a representative from Southampton said he also had £1 5s. to hand over. Mr. ELKINS tendered a personal apology for the absence of the Archdeacon of Winchester, who was also sending something. Mr. WILLIAMS mentioned that the Rev. C. E. Matthews had been obliged to return by train.
Rev. W. E. COLCHESTER remarked that Mr. Matthews had more than once sent him money for the fund. They would have to discuss in February how far the subscription list should be published, or what should be done with it. One member of their Guild - quite a humble member - had sent him £3 by his work. He thought it splendid that the Guild had subscribed £230 towards the memorial.
Mr. CYRIL F. JOHNSTON, who was invited to speak, in the course of a few genial remarks, said he was very glad to be able to be present at the first official ringing of the bells. He thought, considering they had to collect a band of men from different belfries, their ring and touch were very creditable (hear, hear). This was not his first official acquaintance with Winchester; the Guildhall clock came to their firm to be overhauled (Messrs. Gillett and Johnston are clockmakers as well as bellfounders), and on investigation he discovered that the clock was made 59 or 60 years ago, so that it came back to them 60 years afterwards. It was, therefore, rather an enigma and problem to him how clockmakers and bellfounders got any living at all if they had to wait 60 years (laughter). After the war several people began to get a move on, and their firm had many orders for memorial bells, and one of the early orders was from Mr. Colchester and his Churchwardens for the work in connection with St. Maurice Church bells (applause). And now they were down again for the Cathedral bells. Apart from any reference to his firm being the makers of the bells, he should like to congratulate the Guild on being so well organised that they should have been able to provide what everyone would agree was a most excellent memorial of members who fell in the war (applause). Mr. Johnston went on to refer to the tuning of the new bells, as to which something might be heard, arguments being used against the new principle of tuning. He mentioned that it was possible to get five tones in a bell more accurately than in any other musical instrument. They spoke of the method of tuning as “the modern principle,” but that was not quite correct, because the foundation of the principle had been known through many centuries. It was a modernised version of an old story, and bore out the truth of the saying “There is nothing new under the sun.” There had been much discussion as to whether it was better to tune bells in what they considered the most perfect way, or to follow the method of the last three centuries up to 15 or 20 years ago. Was it better to put in bells tuned without relation to their harmonics, or put them in tuned on the more artistic line? He was confident from the first that it would be better to put the bells in properly tuned, and he was more than satisfied with the result (hear, hear). It was, however, for them to say whether they were satisfied or not. If they were not, he should be in an awkward position - he was honestly convinced that his firm had given them of their best, but if they were not satisfied the firm would never leave a tower without giving satisfaction, and they should have another couple of bells. He said this in the spirit of wishing to please, at the same time it would probably go much against their (Messrs. Gillett and Johnston’s) own judgment. He wished to say he appreciated the high honour done to his firm, and he hoped and trusted the bells would give satisfaction to this generation and the next, and the next (applause).
Mr. G. WILLIAMS (master) said he did not think anything was required from him after what Mr. Johnston had said. He endorsed what Mr. Johnston had said, and he was himself agreeably surprised with the effect that the two trebles had with the old bells. He thought it must be admitted that they told a greater tale and spoke out more prominently than they would heave if tuned differently. The Committee appointed to carry out the work made up their minds from the first that they would have harmonically tuned trebles, and they had a fight for it, because the authorities at one time refused the addition of harmonic bells. There even was talk that they might have to go to another tower - Christchurch was mentioned - but, of course, they could not get away from the Cathedral. He hoped the ringers were satisfied, he repeated that he himself was agreeably surprised. If they could have had the first four all tuned on this principle, no doubt they would have been much better, but they must make the best of the job. In answer to the Chairman, Mr. Williams added that he thought guides would improve the ringing by 50 per cent.; guides would make it much more simple.
On the proposition of Mr. PULLING, seconded by Mr. TUCKER, it was unanimously resolved that the Committee should be empowered to put the work of the proposed guides in hand.
Rev. E. BANKES JAMES said there could be no doubt that there would be much better striking if they had guides, and in a place like Winchester Cathedral they should have everything of the best.
Mr. WILFRED ANDREWS, Captain of the Cathedral ringers, said they had some very fair bells at the Cathedral, and some they were not too proud of. He hoped eventually they might be able to form a Bell Fund, and have these latter bells re-cast. While thinking something ought to be done be the present generation, they ought not to look to the Dean and Chapter, who were already suffering from decreased incomes. It was more a Winchester matter than a Guild, but it did concern them all. On behalf of his colleagues, he desired to say how very pleased they were to see so many ringers from other districts.
Mr. CYRIL F. JOHNSTON said he made a sporting offer to Mr. Colchester that his firm should re-cast two of the other bells, which he knew would make a great difference. At a fair price the work would be well worth £100, but, he said, “If I can do it now, I’ll do it for £50.” He appreciated the financial difficulty there was in the way of Mr. Colchester accepting the offer when he made it. But after what had been said there, he was inclined even now to do this. On the off chance of its being accepted, he would keep the offer open until Christmas. If Mr. Andrews could persuade five people to put down £10 each, or ten people to put down £5 each, he (Mr. Johnston) would re-cast the two bells for £50 (applause). He would hold that offer open till December 31st, at midnight (applause).
Mr. W. H. LOVELAND hoped an effort would be made to take advantage of Mr. Johnston’s offer.
On a remark by the Rev. W. E. COLCHESTER as to reasons which influenced him in not accepting the offer when originally made, Mr. JOHNSTON said people were always satisfied if they knew the same metal had been used again, and also if the old inscriptions were re-produced.
Rev. COLCHESTER: If we do have the two bells re-cast we must get them to re-cast the inscriptions. Canon Madge went to a great deal of trouble in ascertaining what they are.
On the motion of Mr. PULLING, a formal resolution was passed that no one in the room objected to the bells being re-cast, if the work could be accomplished as suggested.
WINCHESTER DISTRICT ANNUAL MEETING.
For the business of the annual meeting of the Winchester district, Mr. George Williams took the chair.
The HON. SECRETARY (Mr. Tucker) read the financial statement, and, on the proposition of Mr. WILFRED ANDREWS - who remarked that it was very satisfactory - the same was adopted.
Rev. W. E. COLCHESTER expressed the hope that they might get back to the old system of money in advance. The Treasurer needed between £40 and £50 in hand to meet the expenses.
It was unanimously resolved that the retiring officers should be re-elected, viz., the Rev. Canon Braithwaite, Chairman of the District; Mr. W. T. Tucker (Eastleigh), Hon. Secretary; Mr. George Smith, hon. auditor; and Mr. Wilfred Andrews (Winchester) and Mr. Faithfull (Southampton), delegates on the Central Committee.
It was decided that the next annual meeting should be held at Romsey, on the first Saturday in November, 1922 - Alton was also suggested, but that proposition did not find a seconder.
The quarterly meetings were fixed to be held as follows:- Alton; Cheriton and Tichborne; Dibden and Fawley; Tytherley and Lockerley. Hursley was also mentioned, but it was stated the order of the bells was such that they could hardly be rung.
The HON. SECRETARY reported the District had lost six members by death during the year:- Mr. W. H. George (late secretary), Mr. C. A. Valentine (North Stoneham), Mr. J. Elcombe (Romsey), Mr. C. Goodenough (St. Peter’s, Bournemouth), Mr. W. W. Gifford (who lived at Salisbury) and Mr. Prideaux (Winchester).
On the election of new members, the Rev. W. E. Colchester at once proposed the name of the Hon. General Secretary of the Guild (Rev. Minor Canon Woods), laughingly remarking that he had not hitherto been a member. The proposition was immediately assented to.
There were two or three other elections, either as members or probationers.
On the motion of Mr. EDWARDS, seconded by Mr. GILES, a cordial vote of thanks was passed to the Dean and Chapter for allowing the use of the bells. Apologies for the absence of Canon Braithwaite and Canon Madge from the business meeting were made, Canon Braithwaite having gone to take Sunday duty away from Winchester.
Hampshire Chronicle, November 12, 1921, page 7