INCREASED FROM FIVE TO SIX.
Tuesday, May 31st, was a day to be remembered by the inhabitants of Ropley, Hants, the occasion being the dedication of the church bells after restoration and an addition of a treble to make a ring of six. The whole cost of the work has been defrayed by Miss Hagen, ‘in memoriam of friends of the donor.’
The old five were in a bad state, and had not been rung for a long period. Their silence was, however, joyously broken on May 31st by members of the Winchester Diocesan Guild collected together by the Master at very short notice, owing to the date (May 4th) originally fixed for opening having been postponed by the Bishop. The old bells have all been recast (each bell retaining its old inscription) and rehung by Messrs. Gillett and Johnston, of Croydon. They are mounted on a steel frame with ball bearings. The tenor is 15 cwt. 0 qr. 23 lb. in F sharp; diameter, 43 inches. The total weight of the bells is 50 cwt. 2 qr. 6 lb.
Mr. F. E. Collins represented the founders at the opening. The ringers, as well as parishioners, were all entertained to tea before the dedication service, which was fixed for 7 p.m.
After the dedicatory prayers had been read by the Bishop, a few rounds on the bells were rung. In addition to the Lord Bishop, other clergy present were the Vicar (the Rev. H. W. C. Geldart), the Rural Dean (Rev. E. C. Peakes), with Rev. H. M. Lewis and Rev. R. T. Shea (Four Marks), and the Rev. C. Trumbrell (Beauworth), while Mr. R. C. Turner was at the organ. The Bishop’s address on bells and their message was an interesting and inspiring one.
Immediately after the service, and as the congregation dispersed, the bells were heard in Bob Minor for the first time, a well-struck 720 being brought round by the following members of the Guild: R. Linter 1, G. Williams (conductor) 2, G. E. Chappell 3, F. S. Bayley 4, F. E. Collins 5, J. H. Shepherd 6. Short touches in others methods were also rung by other ringers present who were able to stay, amongst whom were the hon. general secretary (Mr. G. Pullinger), Messrs. Noice and Paine (Winchester), Nash (Southampton), and W. Linter, sen. (Swanmore).
The whole work in connection with the restoration has been excellently carried out by the well-known Croydon firm, and it is hoped a band of ringers will soon be organised locally.
It should be added that a brass plate has been fixed on the south wall of the church, which is inscribed: ‘To commemorate the gift of Marianne Sophia Hagen of the church bells, and the provision of a new treble bell, this brass is dedicated by Ropley parishioners, 1927.’
The Ringing World No. 848, June 24th, 1927, page 390
S. PETER’S CHURCH was originally a 12th century cruciform church but only the piscina and west door of the tower remain. In the 13th century a chapel was added on the south side of the chancel, and there remains an Early English arcade between the chancel and chapel. The chapel has been converted into a vestry-cum-meeting room.
In the late 14th/early 15th century the tower was added over the south transept.
The north aisle was added in the 18th century to the west of the transept. The whole church was restored in 1896 when the old box pews were taken out and new seating installed.
In the early 1920s, it became apparent that the old five bells were unsafe to ring Miss Mary Hagen kindly gave the money for the bells to be recast and a treble to be added in memory of her parents and family, the work being put in the hands of Gillett and Johnston, Croydon. The new ring and frame were dedicated by the Bishop of Winchester on May 31, 1927.
Only seven peals have been recorded to date, but a great many quarters have been rung, mainly by the Alresford Deanery band.
There was at one time a clock bell, by Lester and Pack, 1755, said to have been cast in the choir vestry, but this was stolen.
The bell inscriptions are:-
Treble- D-sharp, 28 in. dia., 4-2-6.
TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND
IN MEMORY OF
JACOB AND MARY HAGEN
ALSO OF P.C.W., J.S.O’H. AND A.H.S.
2nd- C-sharp, 30 in., 5-1-3.
I AS TREBLE DOO BEE GIN.
3rd- B, 33 in., 7-0-2.
FEAR GOD HONNARE THE KING.
4th- A-sharp, 34½ in., 7-2-9.
SAMBELL KNIGHT MEAD THIS RING.
J C. THOMAS OLIVER.
5th- G-sharp, 38½ in., 10-3-19.
ROBERT CATLIN OF LONDON.
Tenor- F-sharp, 43 in., 15-0-23.
UNTO THE CHURCH I DOO YOU CALL
DEATH TO THE GRAVE WILL SUMANS ALL
JOHN GILBERD DID CONTRIVE
TO CAST FROM FOUR THIS PEAL OF FIFE.
As a postscript, the first-ever local quarter was rung on February 2, 1977 as a farewell to the Rev. A. V. Willmont on his leaving that day for a living in Ipswich. Since then two more quarters have been rung.
Practice night is Monday 7.30 to 9 p.m. Sundays 10.30 to 11 a.m. every Sunday. Evening ringing by appointment, to: Rodney Skinner (tower captain), 3 The Dene, Ropley, Alresford, Hampshire SO24 0BJ; telephone Ropley 2408.
The Ringing World No. 3445, May 6, 1977, page 369