Some thirty or forty enthusiastic souls, braved wintry climatic conditions last Saturday [April 16th] for the opportunity of ringing upon England’s lightest peal of ten church bells at North Stoneham, Hampshire. The occasion was a meeting of the Southampton District of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild, and, incidentally, it afforded a number of the younger generation an opportunity for their first pull upon ten bells. Furthermore, it also proved a test in many cases as to ability to handle small bells. From half-past two the ringing took place, and until eight o’clock the bells were telling forth their message in Grandsire and Stedman Triples and Caters, Kent Treble Bob Royal and Cambridge Surprise Major. The only break was the occasion for the service, the bounteous tea and the enthusiastic business meeting which followed. The service was well attended, and an address was delivered by the Rev. E. H. Dixon, curate-in-charge of North Stoneham, from the text, ‘Unto God our Father be glory for ever.’ He referred to the ringers as God’s workers in the diocese, and as such spoke of the importance of the duty they were accomplishing and the joy to be found in their work for Almighty God.

An interesting feature of the service was the singing of a hymn, specially written by the late Rev. C. E. Matthews, a former Master of the Guild, for the use of members of the old Winchester Diocesan Guild. The connection with the ringers as workers for God was further exemplified by the fact that the organist for the occasion was Mr. J. W. Faithfull, despite his great misfortune in having lost one of his hands when serving his country. Indeed, it was really remarkable at one point of the day’s ringing to see the two one-armed ringers (Messrs. Faithfull and G. Pullinger) handling the two little trebles which converted the peal into ten.

Tea was served in the Parish Hall, an enthusiastic band of lady workers administering to the wants of the ringers. The chairman of the district, the Rev. G. T. Tritton, Rector of Dibden, presided, and he was supported by the Master, Mr. George Williams, and Mr. W. T. Tucker, the secretary, Seated with them was an interested visitor in Mr. E. Denison Taylor, the head of the well-known bellfounding firm of Messrs, Taylor and Co. of Loughborough, who were responsible for the work of conversion.

The business was not of a very formidable nature, but as an indication of the progress being made in the district it is interesting to note that no fewer than five new hon. members in Messrs. E. Denison Taylor and V. P. A. G. Scardifield, the Rev. E. T. Thistle (Vicar of Eling) and his warden (Mr. E. E. Owen), and Mr. H. Ivel were enrolled, In addition, the election of 20 performing members was confirmed, these including 18 members of the Eling band and Master Cyril Fray and Miss Joan Wheeler, it being claimed for the latter that she is the youngest performing member of the Guild.

There was one sad moment of an otherwise enjoyable gathering, and that was the passing of an expression of sympathy with the widow of the Rev. Thomas Salmon, whose sad demise in February was such a loss to the parish of Stoneham. The motion was passed in silence as a tribute to the deceased memory, the members standing.

Some interesting remarks regarding the addition of the two new bells was given by Mr. E. Denison Taylor, whose claim that a ‘very good splice’ had been made was evidenced by more than one present.

Time passed all too quickly on such an occasion, and even the mysterious breaking of a stay (culprit unknown) was turned to advantage, for it gave the opportunity for Mr. Faithfull to give a further exposition as to his abilities as an organist.

The towers represented at the gathering were those of North Stoneham, St, Mary’s, Southampton, Bishopstoke, Dibden, Eling, St. John’s, Bournemouth, King’s Somborne, St. James’, Poole, and Shoreham, Sussex, the representative from the latter place being Mr. Owen Giles, a former member of the North Stoneham band.

The Ringing World No. 1100, April 22nd, 1932, page 270