A new peal of eight bells, with a tenor of 12 cwt. 2 qr. 16 lb. in F sharp, has been placed in St. Mary's Church, Liss, Hants, where a massive tower was completed a few years ago. The Bishop of Portsmouth dedicated the bells on Friday in the presence of a congregation that more than filled the seating accommodation.
The tower was designed by Mr. E. F. Maufe, the architect of Guildford's new Cathedral, and is of stone externally and brick internally. It is 20ft. square inside, and the bells, installed by Messrs. Mears and Stainbank, hang in an English oak frame, with plenty of room all round it. The tower is at the western end of the church, and the ringing is done from a gallery. The bell frame is so arranged that all the ropes drop plumb from the wheels in an excellent circle, without any "drawing." There is no middle chamber, which would have obstructed the tall west windows, and in consequence there is a rather long draught of rope.
The oak belfry floor and the ceiling below are independent of any of the bell frame timbers or beams, thus giving a free air current all round the timbers, and between them is a lining of cabot quilting. The bells hang well below the louvres and the sound both inside and out is perfectly adjusted. Indeed, the whole arrangements, with one exception - a straight iron ladder from the ringing floor to the trap door leading to the bells - are a model of what a tower should be. Even in the lighting, every thought has been given to the convenience of the ringers, and in the ringing room there is a tell-tale red lamp to indicate when the light is on aloft.
The bells are a delightful peal, with "full blooded" trebles. They are hung on cast iron headstocks with ball bearings, and there are ball bearing pulleys, and lubricators to the clapper joints. Messrs. Mears and Stainbank are to be congratulated upon having provided Liss with a highly satisfying peal of bells. They were the gift of an anonymous donor.
The dedication took place during evensong and created great interest in the village, to which ringers flocked from many neighbouring towers and from places as far away as Winchester and Swindon on the one hand to Guildford in Surrey and Crawley in Sussex on the other.
After the Bishop had dedicated the bells the Archdeacon of Manchester gave an address in which he referred to the occasion as a great and memorable event in the history of the parish. In these days, he said, there was some tendency to use the modern methods of science to imitate the ringing of bells. They were thankful that they had shared that day in the dedication of yet another peal of bells in England.
During the past three or four weeks a local band has been trained, and these young men rang rounds immediately after the dedication. After the service an opening touch of Stedman Triples was rung by a representative band of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild, and subsequently a variety of touches, up to Spliced Surprise Major, was rung. Some of the visitors did not find the light going, combined with the long draught, entirely to their liking.
The Ringing World No. 1424, July 8th, 1938, page 443