Bell Ringing at St Wendreda’s Church

THE Bell ringers of St Wendreda’s Church are most upset that a complaint has been received relating to the bells ringing on a Monday evening which is our practice night from 7.30pm to 9pm.

THE Bell ringers of St Wendreda’s Church are most upset that a complaint has been received relating to the bells ringing on a Monday evening which is our practice night from 7.30pm to 9pm. The complainant contacted the Council who in turn contacted myself to discuss the matter.

The art of Campanology is one that requires dedication, practice and patience We ring the Bells as our Witness to our Risen Lord, and to call people to Worship. Yes, we do enjoy our hobby and are welcome in other Towers the length and breadth of this Great Country. They can be heard all over March and out in the Fens. Other Denominations hear them as they go to their places of Worship, and in a changing World Our Lord and our Witness remains constant. Many young people have learnt to ring with us, taking their skill with them as they move out of the area, some do it as part of their DOE Award. We are not an Old Boys Club, although perhaps one of the oldest groups in the Town, our present age range is 16-84, of both genders.

The Bells were cast in 1804 coming down via barge from Downham Market where they were cast. In 1929 the Treble was recast and the Bells re-hung in a new frame at a lower level within the Tower. Since the 2nd World War we have always rung on a Monday evening. We are hosting the Ely Diocese Church Bell-ringers on Saturday March 5th, from 3.30pm to 5pm, quite a rare occurrence, but I am sure the people of March will be appreciative of them ringing.

I am privileged to follow a long line of Bell-ringers. My Great Great Grandfather had 10 children, all Ringers, and my Great Grandfather was Tower Captain here 100 years ago. My Great Grandmother, a Baptist, for our Wedding Present embroidered us a table cloth with Bells on each corner and a note to my Bride to remind her I needed to ring for Evensong. Happy Days when we rang at 6am for Christmas and Easter Communion. The Rector, despite nearly hanging himself in the Bell rope when trying to ring in 1951, always ascended to the ringing chamber to set us off with a prayer, and of course, Midnight to ring in the New Year.


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MICHAEL GOAKES

Tower Captain

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