BELL RINGING IN EWHURST
Ewhurst Bell Ringers
As may be seen from the dates of the bells, there is a long tradition of summoning people to worship by bells in Ewhurst. It is now nearly eighty years since major work was undertaken on the bells and it is expected that a refurbishment project will secure the future of ringing in Ewhurst for many years.
Following a period when the bells were silent or only rung occasionally for some years, regular practices were established at the tower in 2010 and have seen a number of beginners taught from scratch, together with some ’returners’ joining existing ringers. Recruitment and training has been supported by ringers from Shere, Albury and Cranleigh and weekly practice nights are still supported by visiting ringers from these towers with attendance often exceeding a dozen. The ringers are keen to improve and overhaul the bells and have the backing of the Rector and the PCC in this project.
The bells are very much part of the local community and are well liked in the village with many people commenting on enjoying hearing the bells, especially on a fine summer evening. Bells are rung every Sunday, often with a full ring of eight, and for village and national events. They are requested for nearly every wedding, even if the organ or choir are not required. A fee is charged for this service, which is shared between the ringers and the bell fund.
Every effort is made to encourage new ringers and inform people about change ringing. In the past the tower has been part of Heritage Open days, which encouraged ringers and others from further afield to visit, especially as two of the bells are from Wokingham bell foundry and date from around 1450.
As well as being open every Wednesday evening for practice, the annual Rectory fete includes a tower open day and always has a steady stream of visitors through the day. Children and adults go up to see the bells, then watch some ringing and receive a simple explanation of how change ringing is done. A number of new ringers have been recruited from these days and are now proficient at bell handling, call changes and progressing to learning methods.
Sayers Croft Trust (once belonging to Inner London Education Authority) is part of the village and many groups of children stay there to study the village and church and visits have been arranged for them to see the bells. The local cubs have also visited us. We also welcome anyone who would like to see Sunday ringing or practise night. The infant school has been learning about the church and one assembly was just about the bells. We have a number of visiting ringing groups through the year who are always appreciative of our ring.
One of the new bells will be dedicated to the late Douglas May, a former Guild Master, who lived in Ewhurst towards the end of his life and whose widow is a churchwarden.
The PCC and the Parish Council are both fully supportive of the restoration project and will make a modest contribution to the cost.
Click the pictures to expand them in a pop up window