Bellringing. You may have noticed that we have heard the bells at St. Lawrence quite a bit in the last few weeks, this is because we have had a number of visiting bands come to ring our bells. There are a number of reasons why they might want to. Our two smallest bells are from the 13th century and are two of the oldest bells still ringing regularly, and amongst the oldest in the world. In contrast, the 4th bell was cast in 1981 as a replacement for the old 4th (from 1490) that had developed an internal crack._Although it can no longer ring in tune, you can still see it hanging from a joist over the musicians area._The other 3 bells are all from 1909. Despite the age of our bells and their being hung in plain metal bearings, they are well maintained and ring very well – they are also comparatively light (our tenor, at about 1/3 of a ton, is less than half the weight of the tenor at St. Andrew’s in Great Linford, for example)._So, visiting bands find our bells easy to get used to and yet are ringing on bells with a long and varied history. For the musically minded, they are nominally tuned in the key of B flat – following a major scale up from there. However, all of the more modern bells had to be tuned to fit in with the much older ones – so actually they are somewhere between B flat and A._As this clashes with modern instruments, we try to avoid having the bells and either organ or music groups at the same time. If you would be interested in finding out more about our bells, the band practice from 7:30-9pm on Wednesdays and we would be happy to tell you more.
The Bellringers’ Annual General Meeting was held at the church on Wednesday 16th January with a good turnout from the band. We have had a good year: meeting most of our Sunday ringing commitments, all of our Easter and Christmas ones and rang in the New Year. We rang two quarter peals: one for the Mayor’s challenge and one in memory of Sapper Bird from Bradwell Village. We also recruited one new ringer as one of the ringing replacements for those lost in the First World War, and that ringer was able to take part in the national ringing in commemoration of the end of the war. We do have a number of financial commitments over the next 3 years as all of the ropes will need replacing but we did commit to making a donation to the church roof replacement fund. All of the current tower officers were re-elected to their posts and we look forward to working with the new incumbent, recognising that Alan has provided a useful link to the wider church this last year.