Ringing World 18th April 2008

                        Bells for “An Island Parish”

                                                                        A new Peal of Eight Bells for St. Marys, Isles of Scilly

             Last summer my son David (a ringer and an Island resident) and I decided it was about time we had a peal of bells at St. Mary’s Church on the Isles of Scilly, particularly since Father Guy Scott (Chaplain to the Isles) and wife Kate were both bell ringers and had recently come to  St. Marys. Many of you will know Father Guy from the TV programme “An Island Parish” and for the observant, church-warden Fiona, my daughter-in-law (also a ringer). A discussion over dinner gave us the green light to investigate the possibility and to report back to the PCC at its meeting in September. We were fortunate that Nicholsons had carried out a detailed survey of the tower and its contents two year previous following a request for a quotation to refurbish the chime of eight tubular bells. In our report we considered how we would fit a peal of eight bells into a tower that was approximately 12foot square and what alterations in the tower would be needed. We felt that a peal of eight with the tenor of 12cwt would be reasonably easy to handle, particularly for learners, and at that weight we believed, given reasonably good conditions, for the sound to be carried over to some of the “Off Islands”. Unfortunately a peal of that weight might require the bells to be hung in two tiers, was there room in the tower for this? The alternative was a peal of about 8cwt to all be hung on one level at the same height in the tower as the present single bell. But three things would have to removed from the tower:-  the set of tubular bells, unringable and dangerous let alone of very poor quality musically, the single bell of about 8cwt dated 1867 of rather dubious tonal quality, and the hand wound mechanical clock drive. This later item was in fact owned by the local Island Council and wound weekly by one of their employees.

             The PCC approved the report and requested us to proceed with obtaining quotations for all the work, that John Maybrey (the undersigned) be the Project Coordinator, though not a resident had more experience than anyone on the Islands. The PCC further asked if it could be considered whether the existing bell could be transferred to the Tresco Church. That if possible we should report back at their November meeting with some idea of the total cost. A detailed specification was written and it was stressed that the quotation should include all the  work, in particular stone cutting and work not usually in the “terms of reference” of a bell hanger, that is the successful quotee would be the prime contractor and sub contract the additional types of work. The specification was sent out to five bell hangers/ bell foundries, two declined to quote either requesting a charge for the quotation or too busy, two quoted basically for just the bell casting and hanging and did not visit the tower. One visited the tower and gave a very detailed report and quotation for all the work requested, including the cost of transferring the existing bell and frame to Tresco. The three quotees all recommended tenors of between 7½ and 8½ cwt and although a two tier 12cwt would be possible the rope circle would not be as good and the sound out of the tower more unbalanced. Interestingly the quotations for the casting and bell hanging part of the work by all three were directly in proportion to their respective tenor weights. The only one that mentioned the Tresco transfer, did not think it viable on cost, as they already had a satisfactory, all be it small, bell and the internals of the tower would require major work to install the bell. Furthermore the bell hanger was willing to offer a reasonable sum, off the quotation and above scrap value for the bell,

             The PCC discussed the quotations and accepted the recommendation that Nicholsons be the contractor, that they be informed that the PCC accept their quotation but would only be able to place and order when there were sufficient funds available. That the other quotees be informed they were unsuccessful. That the Project Coordinator proceed with the application of a Faculty for all the work. That methods of fund raising be considered and whether a separate charity fund needed to be set up, in order to recover “Gift Aid” donations.  The one proviso, most strongly stressed, was that the fund raising for the bells should in no way impinge on the normal fund raising for church maintenance. It should be explained here that there are six churches on the Isles of Scilly, one on each of the four Off Islands and two on St, Marys, all of these have to maintained in very adverse weather conditions by a population of less than 2,000 and the generosity of the many visitors to the Islands. It was conceived that if we tried to find just eight “benefactors” each funding one eighth of the total cost at £15,000 we would not interfere with the maintenance fund raising. How to tempt them, we decided, for their £15k, they could choose a Christian to be cast into the bell face being the only inscription other than, in small lettering, the bell founder and year of casting. This Christian name would be of a loved one past or present that would be remembered for the next two or three hundred years. If additional information was required then this would be on an engraved brass plaque fixed to the headstock. It was hoped that the majority of the benefactors would be Islanders or from people associated with the Islands such as regular visitors.

             Before the February meeting of the PCC, after discussions with the Church architect who could see no problem with the proposal and the Diocesan bell advisor, the papers for the preliminary application for a faculty had been forwarded to Diocesan Advisory Council (DAC). Fortunately we just got the papers in for discussion at the DAC February meeting. and were informed just before the PCC meeting informally that the recommendation was going through with no caveats. We had also been advised that we could bank the donations within the church accounts and be able to collect the Gift Aid in the normal provided the usual forms were completed. Also as this was substantially all new work to a Grade II listed building, we would be exempt from VAT. Finally we heard from the Island Council that if we went ahead with the project, they would not object to us removing their mechanical clock drive, and they would keep it in store for possible future use. 

             We were able to report to the PCC not only the good news above, but that one of their members had asked to have one of the bells in memory of his father-in-law, and that he would be in a position to pay in the £15k before the end of the financial year. That two other parties were interested and it was expected that they would come to fruition within a few weeks. Finally with the PCC’s approval we would launch the appeal at “A Bit of a Do” after Easter Morning Services with a wine and nibbles party, where I would talk about bells and the traditional way of ringing full circle, what the new bells would sound like, how the new radio controlled electrically driven clock would sound, and finally a video of the casting of bells.

             Easter morning came and we had more than 50 people in the hall, perhaps half residents and half visitors. I was introduced by Father Guy where he admitted he had a vested interest in bells as it was through bellringing that he met his wife Kate. I talked about bells and bellringing, and then using Able was able to demonstrate what the new bells would sound like in the key of A and ringing Grandsire triples. Cutting the number of bells down to five and ringing plain hunt very slowly on four was able to demonstrate simple change ringing. Then onto the clock drive which would be a not insignificant part of the total cost of the project. It was proposed that solenoid driven hammers be fitted to all the bells, thus meeting the requirement to play simple tunes on the bells as would have been done on the old tubular bells. The clock drive would be electrically driven radio controlled pulsed motor, capable of striking four sets of different quarter chimes  and an hour strike, It would automatically be silent between 11pm and 7am as is now. It is also expected to be able to chime from memory some change ringing.

             I then went on to talk about how we were to raise the money to meet £128,865 estimated cost of the project. The idea of the £15k benefactors and the name of a loved one on the side of the bell. I reported on the local committed bell and another from an anonymous donor who wanted a bell for Princess Diana. I wrote and obtained consent from Prince William, Prince Harry and Lady Sarah McCorquodale (Diana’s sister) to use the name on the tenor bell in memory of Princess Diana. A further person is interested, in memory of his sister but feels that he should wait a month in deference to Islanders or others having very close connections with the Islands. There followed questions, one of which was the suggestion from a resident bellringer that one of the bells should be a “Community Bell “ for the Islanders to be able to contribute to their bell, but not be able to afford the £15k. Father Guy agreed that we should have such a bell and that that one should be called Mary. To wind up the party we had the Taylor Video of their works and the casting of bells, and the making of wheels and frames. Nearly everyone stayed to the end and I think we could call it a success.

             Two days later I went through it all again, without the visuals, on the local Radio Scilly, hoping to get it over to a few more people. The next day an interview with the local reporter for the weekly The Cornishman. A number of items in the project not included above:- Full external sound control with adjustable barn doors on all four louvered openings, independently adjustable, a mizzen floor between bell chamber and ringing room with dense sound insulation, air conditioning for ringing room, improved ladder access up to roof of tower.

             If there are bell ringers out there who have strong connections with the Scillies and would like to become a benefactor of one of the bells in memory of a loved one, please contact me, John Maybrey, 01730-262609 or johnmaybrey@supanet.com or 44, Barham Road Petersfield GU32 3EX. Alternatively if, because you have been to the Scillies, you would like to contribute towards the cost of MARY the Scillonian Community Bell then please send your donation to Piers Lewin, Downs Cottage, St. Agnes, Isles of Scilly, TR22 0PL  (01720-422777) and if possible “Gift Aid” your donation by enclosing a note saying you wish your donation to be used to obtain Gift Aid and sign with your address and Post Code.


A Peal of Bells for St. Mary’s Church, Isles of Scilly            Progress Report          March/April 08

                 We had a great “Bit of a Do” after church on Easter Sunday morning when we launched our appeal for benefactors to fund the Peal of Bells for St. Mary’s Church. There were just over 50 Islanders and visitors present including three visiting bell ringers. Father Guy introduced John Maybrey the project coordinator, having admitted that he had vested interest, having met his wife Kate through bell ringing. John talked about bells and explained simply full circle ringing and the intricacies of change ringing. This was followed by a demonstration on a simulator PC programme of change ringing including the tone and sound of the proposed new bells in the Key of A.

                 He went on to explain that we would be seeking just eight benefactors who would be donating one  eighth of the total cost of the project, that is £15,000 each, for which they were entitled to have the Christian name of a loved one cast into the face of the bell, which would be expected to last over 200 years. We already have two firm commitments, from Ron Crawford dedicated to EDWARD his father-in-law. and an anonymous donor requesting a bell be dedicated to DIANA, Princess of Wales. We sought and obtained written permission from Princes William and Harry and Diana’s sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale to dedicate the bell to Diana. A third benefactor has offered another bell, but is going to hold off for a month as he believes the Islanders and those very closely connected with the Islands, should have the opportunity first. An interjection from the floor, asked if it would be possible to have a “Community Bell” for the Islanders to be able to donate smaller amounts than those who would be benefactors. Father Guy agreed that this should be so and that the bell would be named MARY. 

                 The Church Clock was the next part discussed, the old Victorian hand wound drive mechanism for the clock would be replaced by a modern radio controlled electric drive with the capability of chiming the quarters as well as the hours as at present. It would also be capable of playing simple tunes, but as at present the clock will be totally silent between 11pm and 7am. Talking of noise and disturbances, John assured those living nearby that the sound of the bells would be drastically reduced with special barn doors over the louvered windows, when the bell ringers were practising, full volume only for services and even that may be reduced on any of the four sides.

                 We then had a video on how church bells are made and cast, made by one of the two bell foundries in the country. This also included how hand bells are made and tune ringing bells. All the people present seemed to enjoy the video and the majority stayed to the end. We think a successful launch.

                 On the Tuesday after Easter John had an interview on Radio Scilly, when he talked about the Sunday do and how the project was progressing. That the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) had approved the scheme with no caveats so that we can now go for formal faculty approval (churches form of planning consent). Talked of the people from whom we had already obtained gifts of a bell, and how we were to have a bell funded by the ordinary Scillonians and close friends of the Islands. At the end of the interview he presented a small bell on a key ring to Radio Scilly to be rung before the announcement of another bell being firmly donated. This key ring is the same as the ones to be presented to each confirmed benefactor on completion of their donation. On Wednesday interviewed by Clive Mumford for The Cornishman, went over much of the same ground as the Radio Scilly interview, so expect something of that in The Cornishman in a week or so.

                  For more information on this project, and to make a donation to the Scillonian Community Bell send cash or cheque made out to “St. Mary’s IOS Bell Fund” to Piers Lewin, Down’s Cottage, St. Agnes, Isles of Scilly, TR22 0PL or contact him on 01720-422777, preferably for Gift Aid include a signed statement with your name & address & Post Code.

 NB  Another bell has been donated by a “visitor” from near Cambridge to be called VALERIE (5th. April). On April 25th we had three more bells donated, John, Brian-Ann, Henry, see attached table. So we are now in a position to place an order with the Contractor, Nicholsons Bell Hangers.


Progress Report  No.3  May, June 2008

                 First of all a monumental thank you to all the benefactors, contributors and helpers who have help us so quickly raise all the money necessary for St. Mary’s to have a peal of bells. As I observed to Father Guy, I think someone Up There thinks it is time for the Scillies to have a peal of bells to call all our folk, residents or visitors, to church, who said they didn’t believe in the power of prayer. It was very much “tongue in cheek” when I said to Guy last summer, Oh it will take a year, have them in by Easter 2009, thinking much more like Easter 2011!!!

                 With great pleasure we can report that on 1st. May Father Guy wrote on behalf of the PCC to Nicholson Engineering Ltd. to place an order for our peal of eight bells and associated equipment at a price quoted in Nicholson’s Preamble and Quotation dated 10th. December with an addition for the increase of metal prices to a total price of £133,965. Enclosed with the letter was a cheque for one third of the total price as an initial payment, part of this money will be used by Nicholsons to place an order on the Whitechapel Bell Foundry to buy immediately all the copper and tin (bell metal) required for our bells, to negate any further expected increases in metal prices. This we understand has been carried out, and the ingots are in store at the Foundry, Whitechapel High Street, London.

                 With regard to the actual financial position of the bell fund, we have six paid for bells from benefactors, one more fully pledged waiting probate clearance and something like £13,000 in the Community Bell fund, making a total in the bank of £103,000 or committed £118,000 plus Gift Aid recovery of about £20,000 giving a grand total of £138,000. We still need to complete the fund raising for the Community Bell to £15,000

                 On 8th. May we had confirmation from Nicholsons accepting our order. Andrew Nicholson with Chris Venn their builder (also a bell ringer from St. Buryan) will be coming over on Saturday 31st May to visit the site and discuss the building works required and when it was likely to start, possibly towards the end of the year. This may well be when the existing bell, tubular bells and clock are removed, from this time until the new clock is installed we will have to manage without a church clock.  

                 We are now going to enter a phase of impatient frustration, since it is unlikely that we will see our bells before next spring. Other than those who wish to attend the casting of the bells at Whitechapel, expected late November early December, and even then they will not actually see the bells. It is quite surprising, even with the downturn in the economy, both the Bell-hangers and the Foundry report a very busy order book.

                 One or two things have come to light of concern to our public which I may have failed to communicate sufficiently well, and it would be appreciated if you could explain the following to those who do not see this Progress Report:- Sound/ noise, each of the four slated tower openings will have independently adjustable sound control boards, fitted on the inside, so that with all four fully closed, the ringing bells will be barely audible outside the tower. The only time the louvers will be fully open will be for Services, including weddings and funerals, and of course when the bells are not being rung so that one would be able to hear the clock chimes. With regard to the Clock, the chimes, as at present, will be switched off between 11.00pm and 7.00am.  Some of our older residents may remember that tunes could be played on the old tubular bells, this can be done on the new bells and a certain resident is itching to have a go. The majority of  the installation will take place through the little used east door at the base of the tower. This will still mean that the choir will have to robe in the north vestibule of the entrance porch. Of course access will be maintained for the organist. It should be stressed that the tower will become a “hard hat” area, access only for those directly involved – a spanner dropped from high up the tower could  kill.

                                                John Maybrey


Progress Report No. 4 for PCC Meeting September 9th. 2008


The three smallest bells for our peal of bells, 3, 2 & treble, were successfully cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London on Friday 23 August witnessed by one of our bell benefactors and myself. This is very exciting seeing the bright red molten metal being carefully poured into the bell moulds, after they have been topped up, they are left over the weekend to cool down, and the mould casing is broken open to reveal the bell. We were then fortunate to see  the other five bells for us, and for the first time see the individual names on each of those bells in “Purgin Gothic”, not the easiest to read but used the lettering that was used on Big Ben. These bells were in the tuning shop, we discussed the tuning with the Whitechapel principal tuner. The tenor, the largest bell, will go onto the tuning machine first where metal will be turned, scrapped, off the inside of the bell  to tune the bell to the same frequency as the equivalent note on our St. Mary’s organ. Then each of the other bells will be tuned for the principal note and three upper harmonics to form an octave of notes.

When the tuning has been completed Andrew Nicholson will collect the bells from the Foundry and take them to his works in Lyme Regis, probably at the end of September. He already has the steel for the bell frame and will start assembling it at the works. The wooden wheels, the headstocks and the clappers have all been ordered from a sub contractor, as has the bell ropes, the sallys to be in Scillonian colours. Andrew’s intention is to completely build the whole system then dismantle it and fully galvanise all the steel before bringing it over to the Island to start installing it next March. In the mean while the builder will come over in late October to dismantle the existing bell and the clock mechanism, open up trap doors to enable the bells to lifted in. Cut and build into the walls the corbels for the bell frame to sit on.

We have had an offer from the Truro Guild of Bellringers to buy and present to us at the Dedication on May 21st. a set of muffles for our bells to be used on Remembrance Sunday and at funerals or times of sadness. This donation, costing £100, is because the Truro Guild felt they would like to be associated with the enterprise of having a new peal of bells in the Diocese. Also on order is a Tower Visitors Book and a Record Book to record special ringing events.


All the indications are that the project is well on schedule and your Project Coordinator has no hesitation in recommending paying the second tranche of money if and when the Contractor Nicholsons request it.


John Maybrey   (Project Coordinator)


Article for Xmas 2008 edition of Scilly Now & Then

 Why has the Church Clock Stopped?

             In preparation for the installation of our new peal of bells in St Mary’s Church next spring, the bell hangers and their sub-contracting builder have started to clear out the tower. We have taken this opportunity to change the Victorian mechanical drive for the clock, that requires winding by hand once a week, to a modern pulsed electric drive, accuracy of time being controlled through satellite by the Frankfurt time signal, the actual clock face will not be altered. This will also enable the clock to have quarter chimes as well as the hour strike if acceptable to those living or working near the Church, as before the clock will remain silent between 11.00pm and 7.00am. The old or existing clock mechanical drive and associated pulleys and weights are being taken into store by the Town Council and may be used elsewhere on the Islands at a later date. It is unlikely that the clock will be running again until the new bells have been installed next April/ May, since the movement round the tower of the heavy bells and the frame on which the bells are mounted, is not good for the more delicate clock movement.

             Other developments in the tower during November include the move of the choir robing area back to the area just to the left of the west church door. The dismantling of the tubular bells, these are dangerously rusty, they will now be taken to the bell hangers workshop where they will be carefully restored and sent to Perth, Western Australia where they will be in a special museum dedicated to bells and ringing. We are receiving the scrap value of the tubes to be offset against our total costs, in my opinion they are of a very poor quality tone wise, again a Victorian concept without real knowledge of how to obtain the required musical quality. Similarly the present single bell will be dismantled and lowered down to the ground, where it will stay until the new bells are delivered next spring. This bell will be held in store on the mainland to be available to augment a peal of bells of a similar age and we will be credited with the scrap value. If we had retained this bell to be incorporated into our new peal the other seven bells would have had to be tuned to this old rather inferior tonal quality bell, and not be in tune with the St. Mary’s Church organ as the new peal will be.

             The builder will be increasing the size of the various trap doors to enable the new bells and frame to be lifted into the tower and also lowering the old bell. He will also be building the corbels in the wall of the tower on which the bell frame will sit. And also an adjustable shuttering box for each of the louvered sound openings (windows) to enable the sound level of the bells emanating from the tower to be controlled. A new floor (ceiling) between the bell chamber and the ringing room  to provide an acceptable level of bell sound for the ringers.

             All the eight bells have been cast at the Whitechapel Foundry in London in July and August this year witnessed by many of the benefactors who have financed the bells. They have now been carefully tuned at Whitechapel to match the frequency of the church organ at 886.1 Hz and taken to Nicholson Engineering at Bridport where over the coming months the bell frame will be constructed and the bells mounted with clappers and wheels, the clock hammers installed. When this is completed it will be inspected by the project coordinator and if satisfied the whole frame and bells will be dismantled to be ready for shipping to the Islands.

             For your 2009 diaries it is confidently expected that the complete frame and bells will be shipped over on the Gry on the 24/25 March (Mon/Tues), to then be moved up to St. Marys where the bells will be on display to be looked at until Thursday 27th. when we will have the Hallowing of the bells by Father Guy followed by a party including drink served from an inverted bell. This will be the only opportunity to see the bells for the following day the Nicholson bell hangers will start lifting the bells into the tower. Over the next few weeks (but not over Easter) the hangers will be reassembling the frame and bells in the tower, installing the clock drive and occasionally testing the various functions. It is hoped that this will not disturb the local residents, noise will be kept to a minimum and not in “unsocial hours”.

And finally on Ascension Day 21st. May 2009 the new Bishop of Truro, Bishop Tim, will be coming over to dedicate the bells and the new clock at a special service followed by a bit of a party, accompanied it is hoped by the bells ringing loud and true.

 John the Bell (project coordinator)


Article for spring 2009 edition of Scilly Now & Then                            


The New Bells for St. Mary’s Church     (Spring 2009)


            Since my last article in the “Winter 2008 Scilly Now & Then” the eight bells have been sitting patiently in the Bellhangers workshop at Bridport waiting their turn to be installed in the fabricated metal bell frame. There were a couple of bell hanging refurbishing jobs to be completed for other churches before work could start on our bell frame. What happens is the  frame is completely constructed in their workshop, all bolted together, the headstocks are made for each bell and the bell bolted on, the clappers are made and fitted, the wooden wheels, stays and sliders are constructed, the nylon pullies under the bells for rope guidance are made and all these items are then assembled on the bell frame in their appropriate positions. When this is completed, the clock chiming hammers that have been pre-manufactured are assembled, fitted to the frame and adjusted to be able to strike each bell. Other adjustments are made, for example the position of the clapper bearing so that the clapper strikes very evenly on each side, then everything is dismantled  to the last nut and bolt and all steel parts are sent away to be hot dip galvanised, other items which cannot be galvanised are treated with a very heavy coat of heavy zinc-rich primer. The whole can then be packed and made ready for transport to the Penzance Quay for the trip to the Scilly Isles on the Gry. This trip is scheduled and booked for Monday 24th. March so that on the Tuesday the whole will be transported up to the Church.


            Not that nothing has been happening at the church over winter. Our builder friend, Chris Venn a bellringer from St. Buryan, has been preparing the tower to receive the new bell frame and bells. This has involved construction of a new floor between the new ringing room and the bell chamber, new trap doors in each of the floors to enable the bells to be lifted up to the bell chamber, the making and installing new window frames, made from the old bell frame, in the ringing room, making and installing the sound control units for each of the four louvered windows, installing an air conditioning unit in the ringing room to keep the air reasonably dry, and the whole tower rewired including an emergency lighting circuit. One additional item of work we had not catered for was the removal of 100 years of green crud on the ringing room walls due to poor ventilation, when this was completed it was necessary for Chris to repoint all the walls.


            We are now ready to receive and install the bells which as I said would follow their arrival on March 25th. and I can but repeat the last paragraph of my earlier article. The bells will be on public display from the 25th. at St. Mary’s Church until Thursday 27th., when we will have the hallowing of the bells by Father Guy, followed by a party, including drink served from an inverted bell. This will be the only opportunity to see the bells, for the following day the Nicholson bell hangers will start lifting the bells into the tower. Over the next few weeks (but not over Easter) the hangers will be reassembling the frame and bells in the tower, installing the clock drive and occasionally testing the various functions. It is hoped that this will not disturb the local residents; noise will be kept to a minimum and not in unsocial hours.


            And finally on Ascension Day 21st. May the new Bishop of Truro, Bishop Tim, will be coming over to dedicate the bells the bells and the new clock at a special service, scheduled for 6 o’ clock, followed by a bit of a party, accompanied it is hoped by the bells ringing out loud and true.


                                                                                    John Maybrey,  project coordinator


            Hallowing of the bells on St. Mary’s, Isles of Scilly


A couple of weeks ago the bells for St. Mary’s Church, Isles of Scilly made the journey without mishap from Bridport via Penzance across the sea on the Gry to the Islands FOC courtesy of the Steamship Company. Again free of charge the local haulage contractor transported the bells, the steel bell frame and all the other equipment from the quay up to the church. Where, as can be seen from the accompanying photograph, they were arranged in a neat row outside the west end of the church. Where they were to remain from Tuesday to Thursday for the Islanders and Visitors to see this unique all new peal of bells. Many stopped and looked and took photographs during that time, as it was “The Walk Scilly Week” with many extra visitors. At this time the bell hangers were installing the bell frame in the already prepared tower.


On Thursday the treble (Mary) bell was placed in a jury rig frame so that it could be sounded, whilst the 2 (Ann) had been inverted in another jury rig frame to receive a bucket of flowers, the other six bells having ribbons and flowers in preparation for the Hallowing (Blessing) of the bells by Father Guy, Chaplin to the Islands. In the gathering dusk some 100 Islanders and Visitors gathered in the Church for a short first part service, Hymn, a special Orthodox  Litany and prayers before going outside to the bells. Here Father Guy blessed each bell by name with Holy Water and after a brief Lesson  anointed each bell with Holy Oil, as each bell was blessed or anointed the treble was sounded once. On returning to the church the ringer’s hymn was sung, totally unknown to the Islanders, they will learn now they have bells, and the final blessing.


The flowers were removed from the 2nd and the bell was carried into the Pavilion (hall) where it was filled with Scuppered, an Island brewed beer. Wine and a good quantity of nibbles were sampled, it was noticed that many of the ladies would start on the wine but on refilling would have to sample the beer for good luck. A good and long celebration.


Friday morning and the kind haulage lorry was back to lift the bells round to the tower door.  During the day five of the bells were lifted up and bolted down on the frame attaching the wheels as they went, the last three being lifted the next day. All fitted just, as it is a very tight fit for an 8 ¾ cwt eight in a 12ft. square tower on one level.


Many of the benefactors, some from the mainland, were present for the Hallowing and all are hoping to be back for the Dedication on 21st. May by Bishop Tim of Truro. Many photographs and videos have been taken during the week, reports have appeared in the press and on both ITV and BBC though only in the west country. The “Island Parish” man was there all the time recording everything, but you will have to wait until towards the end of the year to see that, how much will be in, we will have to wait and see.!


John Maybrey (Isles of Scilly)


Dedication of the bells of St. Mary’s, Isles of Scilly by Bishop Tim, Bishop of Truro  Ascension Day 21st. May 2009

The dedication of the eight bells, the clock and the chimes by Bishop Tim Thornton, on his first visit to the Islands, was at a 6.00pm service on Ascension Day. The church was full to hear the new Bishop introduce himself to the congregation describe the part bells have played in the church over the centuries, and how he would be dedicating the bells. The Bishop then went with the Chaplin Guy and the Church Wardens to the ringing chamber where the bells were dedicated by the Bishop by a simple prayer. Next a symbolic bell rope was handed from the Bell Hanger to the Church Wardens, then to the Chaplin who in turn gave it to the Tower Captain of the Bells. The bells were then rung to a short touch of Bob Triples by Island resident ringers assisted by two ringers directly involved with the project. Later during the service a set of muffles for funerals and Remembrance Sunday paid for by the Truro Diocesan Guild of Ringers was presented and blessed, together with a Visitors book and a peal and quarter peal book for the tower. Two new Island members of the Guild were presented with their badges. After the service a veritable feast was held in the Church Hall which all the congregation came to. In the mean time the visiting ringers made the most of ringing the bells for an hour, then joined in the party. At the conclusion of which only the ringers were left discussing the excellent bells and consuming a considerable quantity of the excellent specially brewed local beer called Ringers Round. The next morning the visiting ringers were able to enjoy the bells for nearly two hours ringing to the highest standard in preparation for the School May Day Celebrations, including the procession from the school to the Green. 


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