Members and friends of St Milburga's tower assembled together with Matthew Higby & Company on 19th August 2020 to help perform the test ring of the new bells.
Strict COVID prevention rules had to be observed throughout, of course, with all ringers wearing face coverings and using hand sanitiser before and after each ring of the bells.
Collectively, we rang shorts touches of Grandsire, Stedman and Spliced Surprise Major, as well as Round and Call Changes to finish off our quick test. The bells passed with flying colours, with all in attendance agreeing that they were a joy to ring and to hear. We are all itching to ring them properly, of course, but, as everybody knows, patience is a virtue!
Once again, huge thanks to Matthew and his crew for their sterling efforts, and congratulations to Henry Lewis on the realisation of a lifelong dream...
On Monday 10th August 2020, we were finally able to welcome our new bells to Stoke St Milborough. The light four were brought to the church by Matthew Higby's bell hangers, and the heavy four were collected by Henry and Edward Lewis on a trailer.
Arriving at the church around 2pm, there was an hour of hard work to unload and line them up in front of the church ready for our 3pm blessing ceremony, led by the Rev'd Fr Justin Trevelyan Parker.
A thundery downpour appeared right in the middle of the 15 minute ceremony, baptising the bells with heavenly rain! Fortunately, the sun was back out within moments and the assembled congregation were able to take some time afterwards to admire the bells and their inscriptions.
Many thanks to the Allanconi Foundry, and to Matthew Higby and his team for all of their hard work. Congratulations also to Henry and family for bringing the project into the home strait! Won't be long until the world will hear these wild bells ring out...
Click here to read more about the bells and the thinking behind their design and inscriptions.
Work has now commenced at St Milburga to replace the old bells with the new ones.
Here are some photos of the old tenor being lowered out of the frame to go into storage.
Watch this space for updates on the arrival of the new bells soon!
Now that our bells have been delivered from Italy to Matthew Higby's works in Somerset, we thought a group of us should go down and see them going through the initial stages of the tuning process. We did this on 30th January 2020 and you can see the photos and a video from our little outing below.
The bells will be here for a few weeks to be tuned and prepared before finally coming to St Milburga's for hanging in Spring 2020.
Click here to read the full report on our visit to see the foundry where our new bells are being cast.
Fancy trying your hand at bell-ringing? Here's your opportunity!
On Saturday 9th November, we will be hosting a taster morning from 10am to 12 noon.
Come along and have a go at handling one of our bells, see how we use our simulator to facilitate learning and even climb the tower ladder to see the bells themselves (as long as you have a head for heights!)
There is no charge for the taster morning and participants of all ages from 11 upwards are welcome. Tea and coffee provided!
Free parking is available outside the church.
Please note that the ringing room is accessed via a small wooden staircase.
If you would like to participate, please fill in this form or follow the contact link at the top right of the page.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Henry Lewis & Ashley Smith
On Saturday 17th August 2019, members of the St Milburga tower went on a tour of Herefordshire, visiting the following towers for up to an hour of ringing at each:
Each session was run by a different person, ensuring that a good variety of methods were rung. Over the course of the day, we covered the following:
Rounds and Call Changes
Plain Bob Doubles
Reverse Canterbury Doubles
Plain Bob Minor
Single Oxford Bob Minor
Cambridge Surprise Minor
Plain Bob Triples
Single Oxford Bob Triples
Plain Bob Major
All participants felt that they had been spoiled by the quality of the bells at the towers that we used and we look forward to having our own new set of evenly matched bells very soon!
A fine lunch was had at the Cattle Shed in Kington and the day was rounded off with dinner at The Temeside Inn.
Thanks go to Henry Lewis for setting up the day and to all of the tower captains for making us feel so welcome.
Top photo: Presteigne; Bottom photos: Staunton-on-Arrow
You may have seen in the national news the efforts by bell ringers across the country to mark the centenary of the Armistice by ringing as many bells as possible 11th November.
The bells of St Milburga’s were rung half muffled before the Remembrance Service. This technique involves strapping a thick leather cup over one side of the clapper in order to deaden the sound of alternate strokes to produce an echo effect. Additionally, we rang the middle 6 bells of the 8 to create a minor key and a more mournful sound. For many in the local band, this was the first time they had rung in such a way and all agreed that the result was a haunting and evocative tribute to the men from the village who sacrificed their lives.
The Act of Remembrance was taken by Rev. Ian Gibbs who had researched the lives and deaths of the 8 men from Stoke who died in the Great War. His address allowed the congregation present to really get to know more about the stories behind the names we see on the memorial each time we enter the church.
At 11am, the tenor bell was struck eleven times to mark the start of the 2 minute silence.
Together with many churches across the country the bells were then rung again without the muffles at 12.30pm and the performance will be recorded in the forthcoming special edition of The Ringing World.
If you have been inspired to learn more about bell ringing or are interested in having a go yourself, do not hesitate to make contact via our website www.stmilburga.co.uk