This is the description of how the RforE Challenge of the ‘Rolling Ring’ was successfully rung throughout the day by the NORTH BUCKS Branch of the Oxford Guild
Thirty three towers from the North Bucks Branch of the Oxford Diocese Guild of Church Bell Ringers rang out for St George’s as part of the rolling ring challenge. The day begin at Thornborough the branches only steel ring of 5 bells, the day’s main organiser Linda was the first ringer to pull off at 9.30am and the ringers completed 30 minutes of ringing.
15 minutes later the bells in Buckingham could be heard. As the ringers at Thornborough stood their bells the visitors to the National Trust’s Capability Brown Gardens at Stowe had an extra special treat when the bells at the local parish church rang out prompty at 10 o’clock. So the pattern was set, the beautiful bells at Shallstone were next to ring and oh what a beautiful ring of 5 they are. The bells at Lillingstone Lovell were next followed by some special ringing at Maids Moreton, where the branches newest recruits who joined following the very successful New Year Open Day rang the bells, well done to each one of them!
Leckhamstead and Beachampton followed before the sound of Church bells reached the new town of Milton Keynes, known more for its roundabouts and concrete cows than its church bells. Never the less there are numerous ancient churches within Milton Keynes and the rolling ring weaved its way around them incorporating the surrounding villages as it headed east towards the M1: Bradwell, Loughton, Shenley Church End, Whaddon, Newton Longville, Calverton (following a wedding that took place within the church),Great Brickhill, Downs Barn (the newest and lightest ring of 8 bells in the branch), Simpson, Woughton-on-the Green, Wavendon, Milton Keynes Village and Great Linford.
Finally the sound of bells crossed the busy M1 to Newport Pagnell the home of iconic Aston Martin Works for more than 60 years before travelling on through North Crawley, Chicheley, Sherington, Emberton (where the Mayoress of Milton Keynes paid the ringers a visit), Clifton Reynes, Lavendon before reaching Olney, the home of the famous pancake race.
While noone is quite certain how the world famous Pancake Race at Olney started a couple of the stories are linked to the church bells: One story tells of a harassed housewife, hearing the shriving bell, dashing to the Church still clutching her frying pan containing a pancake. Another tells that the gift of pancakes may have been a bribe to the Ringer, or Sexton that he might ring the bell sooner; for ringing the bell signalled the beginning of the day’s holiday and enjoyment, no less than to summon the people to the service at which they would be shriven of their sins before the long Lenten feast.
After Olney the wave of sound turned back west travelling through Weston Underwood, Tryingham, Stoke Goldington before arriving at Hanslope. Hanslope’s historic tower can be seen from miles around, indeed if you are lucky enough to climb the tower on a clear day, you can see all the way to the Dunstable Downs. The day’s ringing ended at 7.45pm but in true bell ringing style the ringers retired to the local pub for a celebratory drink!
What a tremendous achievement WELL DONE to All the Wonderful Ringers