As you may well know next year 2016 is a Leap Year so St. George’s Day, April 23rd, is on a Saturday. This should help many more ringers to take to their bells to help celebrate the day. RforE proposed the idea of a ‘Rolling Ring’ several years ago and the challenge has been taken up by one of the Guild’s Branches. In the past several cities have organised just such a type of ring but just within their cities, such as Bristol, Colchester, and Newcastle. This Challenge would encourage the involvement of an entire Branch – Would your Branch be up for it?
The small village of Bletsoe in Bedfordshire, of just some two hundred souls, raised sufficient funds and gained a grant from the National Lottery to restore these special bells. Cast in 1786 they are the first bells cast by Robert Taylor, the first Taylor whose family went on to create the present dynasty of John Taylor of Loughborough, Leics.
Libby Alexander was delighted to have been invited by the Tower Captain, Paul Vine to visit the tower and hear the story of the bells. The Dedication Service took place on 6th September of this year and followed the ancient rites of a bell rope being passed from Simon Adams of the John Taylor Co, and it being handed to Edward Bean the Churchwarden. He in turned handed the bell rope to the Bishop of Bedford, The Rt. Reverend Richard Atkinson who handed it to the Rector of St. Mary, The Reverend Martin Bailey. He in turn handed the bell rope to the Tower Captain, Paul Vine and with each hand over blessings were said.
The church of St. Mary sits in the heart of the village and was mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086. Its restored 6 bells now have a wonderfully rich and pure sound which Paul and his band are justifiably proud of. Any visiting band who wishes to ring out on these special bells would be most welcome and all they have to do is to contact Paul on : firstname.lastname@example.org