Fund raising for repairs to the church fabric have caused tower captain Dennis Oram to postpone fund raising for his particular ringing aim. Taught as a boy to ring on these five bells, he has long wished to augment them to six. He marked his Golden Wedding by initiating the scheme, and great support from the village has enabled the order to be placed with Taylors. The new treble was cast on 3rd February 1989.
Taylors last carried out major work on this Janaway ring of six in 1893. A recent inspection revealed that rehanging was necessary and that cast-in, cast iron crown staples had been removed in 1893 from all but bell number two. This dangerous situation has now been remedied and local fund raising enabled the essential work to be performed in January 1898.
A benefactor from overseas has enabled this ring of five to be augmented to six in July 1988, with the new bell acting as a memorial to the benefactor's parents. The first quarter peal on six was scored here on 17th July 1988.
Our own Guild wizard of the bell frame, Martin Waldron, has spent many hours repairing, and rehanging the eight bells. For some time he has dreamed of an augmentation to ten, and this was almost achieved with the redundant bells from Sydmonton. Due to considerable help from himself and from the Kippin family, the order has now been placed at Whitechapel for the casting of two new trebles.
Tower captain Fred Mouland, a very active Life Member of our Guild, has also long wished for an augmentation of these five bells. Fund raising has been directed to restoration of the roof and the historic wall paintings, making use of the appearance of the church and village in the TV Agatha Christie series entitled Miss Marple. Later, fund raising produced only enough for the rehanging of the five by Arthur Fidler and details of this restoration appeared in The Ringing World issue 4031.
The Rector of the joint parish has wisely decided that, following the above restoration, the lighter ring of five should also be checked. Mr M K Waldron has been requested to carry out a professional inspection.
The number one restoration scheme for 1988 must surely be the magnificent DIY work at Newport, Isle of Wight, where local ringers under the leadership of David Weir have removed the rotten wooden frame, cleared the dangerous chiming apparatus, lowered and transferred the bells to Loughborough, and engaged in every possible scheme for fund raising. The job has been long, dirty and physically exhausting. The drilling of eighteen holes in the very tough tower walls by supporting a Kango hammer drill in a horizontal position must be the most exhausting one known to bellringers.
The return of the four new bells and the recast tenor was vividly described by Julian Atkins in The Ringing World issue 4044. Guild members are asked to support in every way this installation of our third ring of twelve, particularly in the raising of the final £4000 which is proving particularly difficult.
Newport bells are very involved in our early history since, one hundred and fifty years before the birth of our Guild, the Union Youths of Newport under William Rayner introduced change ringing and rang the first peals, long before those on the mainland could even plain hunt. Famous IoW Guild members are commemorated on the fourth bell (Frank Taylor, William Upton, Lester Bailey, Dr Bruce Williamson) and our Life Member, Anne Guy, has donated the second. The names of all those who toiled in the bell chamber appear on the recast tenor. We hope that our latest twelve will be hung (mainly by David) and dedicated during 1989. Details of the bells appear in The Ringing World issue 4059.
The ringers of the ancient three bells have stored the eight bells from Gosport for a year, hoping to install them to replace the three, or even in the gatehouse of the castle which surrounds the church. Alas, English Heritage, which is responsible for all major work in this area, is very anxious to retain the three bells and the antique 1630 wooden frame. The problems raised by this organisation appear to make the installation of the octave almost impossible.
A scheme has been launched to complete the unfinished south end of this building. Incorporated is a plan to augment the ring to twelve.
The old wooden frame of 1734 regularly produces problems for the large band of local ringers, and the rotation of money directed to fabric repairs will be used soon for replacement of the frame. When this happens, empty pits may be provided to accommodate extra bells in the future.
D C JACKSON