The new ring of eight bells at Milford-on-Sea, Hants, erected to the memory of the late Rev. C. E. Matthews (the Vicar), who was for many years an officer (Master and afterwards vice-president) of the Winchester Diocesan Guild, were dedicated on October 30th by the Bishop of Winchester.

The first recorded reference to bells in Milford is in 1553, and they have twice been recast since the reign of Edward VI. Three new bells have now been added to complete the octave, the old five having been recast. The result is a very fine ring of eight (tenor 12¼ cwt. in G Major). The whole of the work was entrusted to Messrs. Taylor and Co., of Loughborough, who have carried it out with their usual excellent workmanship, the minutest details necessary for the ringers’ comfort in the tower having been taken into account. Each bell can be heard equally in the ringing chamber.

A special form of service was used, the lessons being read by the Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn (Master of the Oxford Guild) and Canon Braithwaite (patron of the Guild) respectively, after which the Bishop, accompanied by the Vicar and churchwarden, proceeded to the ringing chamber, when the ropes were handed to the Bishop with the request to dedicate the bells to the glory and praise of God.

Afterwards, the ropes were handed to the Vicar with the following charge: ‘Receive these bells that have been solemnly set apart from all profane and unhallowed uses, as a sacred trust committed unto thee as the appointed minister of Christ in this church, and take care that they be ever and only used in God’s service and for his glory.’

Whilst the Bishop returned to the chancel the bells were rung in rounds by eight members of the local band.

The Bishop, in his address, spoke of the ‘King’s Remembrancer,’ and said the bells might be called ‘Remembrancer’ of the Eternal. They were a reminder of the larger and greater life, for which this life was but a school of preparation. In conclusion, he urged them to recast their lives that they might ring with a truer tone than before.

Immediately after the service the first touch (Grandsire Triples) was rung on the bells by a representative band.

The opening of these bells was of special interest to ringers, as the two trebles were given by the old Winchester Guild as a memorial to their late vice-president, and a large number attended, those present including Mr. G. Williams (Master), Canon Braithwaite, (vice-president), Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn (Oxford Guild), Mr. K. Hart (Sussex Association), Rev. C. Phillips and Mr. S. Hector (Salisbury Guild), Messrs. G. Preston (Christchurch), W. Andrews (Winchester), E. Elliott, C. W. Tucker, etc. Mr. J. P. Fidler represented the founders.

The treble is inscribed, ‘Faith,’ and the 2nd ‘Hope,’ and each bears the following in addition: ‘Given by the Winchester Diocesan Guild of Change Ringers in memory of their vice-president, Rev. C. E. Matthews. 1928.’

After the dedication service a very large company attended at Milford House Hotel for tea, and afterwards touches in various methods were rung on the new bells.

A ringers’ day was arranged for Saturday, November 3rd, to enable ringers who could not attend the dedication to try the bells.

A very large number of members of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild, also of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild, attended, the towers represented being Bournemouth, Brockenhurst, Bishopstoke, Christchurch, Fareham, Highclere, King’s Somborne, Lyndhurst, Lymington, Milford, North Stoneham, Portsmouth, Poole, Parkstone, Ringwood, Romsey, Sopley, Southampton, Wimborne, Weymouth, Winchester and Woolton Hill , Mr. J. P. Fidler again representing the founders.

Various methods were rung during the afternoon and evening, the ‘go’ and tone of the bells giving the ringers every satisfaction.

Tea was served in the Parish Hall, presided over by Rev. H. M. Larner (Vicar), to which over 70 sat down. The Chairman welcomed the ringers to Milford, and referred to the history which led up to the provision of the new bells.- Mr. Williams and Mr. J. P. Fidler suitably replied.

The General Secretary (Mr. G. Pullinger) announced that the sum of £2 was required to complete the £100 promised by the Guild, and appealed for further subscriptions.

The meeting closed with votes of thanks to the chairman and to Mr. G. Preston for making the arrangements for the meeting.

The Ringing World No. 921, November 16th, 1928, page 731