Bell-ringing update

11 November 2018, 19:05
On 11th November 2018, the United Kingdom and its friends overseas marked the day, 100 years ago, when the guns fell silent at the end of the First World War. Bells will ring out in unison from churches and cathedrals in villages, towns and cities across the country.
Oxfordshire County Council played its part in remembering the sacrifice of millions of men and women by joining in Battle’s Over, a unique series of events involving organisations and communities the length and breadth of our nation and in many countries abroad.

Many of the parish churches across Oxfordshire rang out for peace at exactly 7:05pm on 11th November.  At St Matthew’s Harwell, 7 new recruits and 1 returning ringer were going to ring for the first 5 minutes by themselves. Unfortunately, essential maintenance work on the tower means that we were not able to ring at Harwell over that period but we were delighted that we were invited to ring at All Saints', Chilton  instead.

As part of the Ringing Remembers campaign, to mark the final year of the First World War centenary commemorations, 1,400 new bell ringers will be recruited in honour of the ringers that lost their lives during the First World War. Many bell ringers joined the war effort, and many lost their lives. Just after the war, the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers wrote to all bell towers to compile the Roll of Honour. At the time 1,077 men were reported as lost. More recent research has uncovered over 300 ringers who died in service. In total some 1,400 bell ringers lost their lives in the Great War. A loss to them and their families. A loss to communities.

There are no Harwell ringers on the ringing Roll of Honour but there is one from each of Chilton, East Hagbourne and Sutton Courtenay; and 2 from each of Blewbury and  Wantage. The casualty from Chilton was Corporal Archie Reginald Silver who served in the Great War (1914-18) in the Household Battalion. He died 12 Oct 1917 at the age of 25. He is commemorated at the Tyne Cot Memorial.

At Harwell we have 8 learners taking part in this project. We have 7 new recruits: Helen, Susan & Jude (who have been learning since just before last Christmas); and Jayne, Elisha, Rowan and Caleb (who have only been learning for the last few weeks). We also have one ringer, Bridget, returning from a break of about 20 years. It was was a very ambitious target for these learners to ring by themselves . They are all doing very well and have done a huge amount of practicing including visiting other towers. They did themselves and their teachers proud by ringing very competently on the 11th (especially as they were on unfamiliar bells!). 



Debbie Greenfield
(last updated 12th Dec 18)