From Thursday, 21st February 2019, bell ringing practice will take place on Thursday evenings between 7:30pm and 9:00pm

Winter 2018 update

It has been some years since the bells at St. James the Great have been rung regularly for Sunday services. Over recent months and even years, several villagers have been learning the skills needed to ring, and a new fledgling band is in the making. We made our debut as part of the centenary commemoration of World War 1 Armistice Day on 11th November, 2018.

With the generous support of ringers from other local towers, we rang all eight bells half-muffled before the 9:30am service, then the bells were un-muffled and rung up again. Our own South Leigh band rang for the national Ringing Remembers at 12:30pm, and again for the national Battle’s Over at 7:05pm; not all eight bells, but enough to make a joyful noise.

To get us to this stage has taken dedication and hundreds of patient hours from our inspirational teacher, Alison Merryweather-Clarke, who is tower captain at North Leigh St. Mary’s and acting tower captain at South Leigh St. James the Great. Evadne Vallance and myself have been attending practices at various local towers in order to attain an acceptable standard, followed by Richard Law who is catching up with us, and Joy Dawe and Steve who pulled their first strokes with us on 11th November, 2018. We are delighted to welcome experienced ringer, Christopher A. Moxon from Cogges to join us. Now we are able to support Anne Peake, who has single-handedly kept bell-ringing alive whilst there was no active band by chiming the 14th century Sanctus bell every week.

We would not have been able to ring half-muffled without the energetic gymnastics of Ian Thompson who climbed in and out of all eight bell pits twice to fit and later remove the leather muffle pads. And we have received regular encouragement and support from Witney St. Mary’s tower captain, Andrew Goldthorpe, along with ringers Julie Minch and Rob and Katie Walton from North Leigh. Anne’s daughter, Meadhbh Rafftery joined us for the 7:05pm ring. Our thanks all round, with special gratitude to Alison, and acknowledging retired South Leigh tower captain, David Smith for his continued encouragement and advice.

We are hoping to reinstate a regular practice night at South Leigh, probably on Thursdays. Should any other villagers feel they would like to have a go at bell ringing, we can arrange a taster session one Thursday evening ~ contact
Heather Horner for more information. Should you then feel inspired to learn a new skill, we can organise tuition, and who knows, maybe we could be ringing all eight bells regularly.

Heather Horner, Windrush Cottage
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The new band emerges triumphant into the sunshine.
Left to right: Heather, Evadne, Anne, Chris, Richard

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Ringers and support team after the half-muffled ring on Armistice memorial day.

Become a Bell Ringer - join a tradition dating back 400 years

What's Bell Ringing all about?
Bell ringing is a team activity that stimulates the brain and helps to keep it fit... it also makes a glorious sound! Many consider ringing to be their contribution to church life, others do it for the pure pleasure it brings. Ringers come from all walks of life and range in age usually from ten to those in their eighties.

Why learn to ring?
A global group of friends
Lifelong learning experience
Maintain a traditional skill
A service to the church and community
Team activity
A great mental workout
Opportunity to visit amazing places

Come and see
Listen for the bells at a church near you, or
visit this website to find a tower in your area, then go along to see what bell ringing is all about.

Change Ringing
The origins of change ringing lie in the sixteenth century when church bells began to be hung with a full wheel. This gave ringers control of their bell, which allowed sets of bells (rings) to be rung in a continuously changing pattern.

Music is created by moving bells up and down the ringing order to a defined sequence of changes known as a method. Learning a few simple methods allows ringers to join in with other bands in towers around the world.

Could I become a ringer?
Ringing is a well within the capabilities of most people. The initial teaching takes several weeks, after which a learner can begin to ring with the rest of the band. Most ringers practice once or twice a week and ring before or after church on Sunday.

How to find out more...
For ringing at St. James the Great, South Leigh, practice night is on Thursday evenings from 7.30pm to 9.00pm and ringing for the Sunday Service 9.00am to 9.30am.

For more details, please contact:-
Acting Tower Captain: Alison Merriweather-Clarke
Local ringer; Evadne Vallance - evadnevallance@hotmail.co.uk
Local ringer: Heather Horner - 01993 357389

or...

Visit a tower near you when you hear the church bells. Look for posters in church porches listing ringing activities

and...
Visit:
The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers
Visit:
The Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers
Visit:
The Witney & Woodstock branch of Bell Ringers
What's Bell Ringing all about?
Bell ringing is a team activity that stimulates the brain and helps to keep it fit... it also makes a glorious sound! Many consider ringing to be their contribution to church life, others do it for the pure pleasure it brings. Ringers come from all walks of life and range in age usually from ten to those in their eighties.

Why learn to ring?
A global group of friends
Lifelong learning experience
Maintain a traditional skill
A service to the church and community
Team activity
A great mental workout
Opportunity to visit amazing places

Come and see
Listen for the bells at a church near you, or visit this website to find a tower in your area, then go along to see what bell ringing is all about.

Change Ringing
The origins of change ringing lie in the sixteenth century when church bells began to be hung with a full wheel. This gave ringers control of their bell, which allowed sets of bells (rings) to be rung in a continuously changing pattern.

Music is created by moving bells up and down the ringing order to a defined sequence of changes known as a method. Learning a few simple methods allows ringers to join in with other bands in towers around the world.

Could I become a ringer?
Ringing is a well within the capabilities of most people. The initial teaching takes several weeks, after which a learner can begin to ring with the rest of the band. Most ringers practice once or twice a week and ring before or after church on Sunday.

How to find out more...
For ringing at St. James the Great, South Leigh, practice night is on Thursday evenings from 7.30pm to 9.00pm and ringing for the Sunday Service 9.00am to 9.30am.

For more details, please contact:-
Acting Tower Captain: Alison Merriweather-Clarke
Local ringer; Evadne Vallance - evadnevallance@hotmail.co.uk
Local ringer: Heather Horner - 01993 357389

or...

Visit a tower near you when you hear the church bells. Look for posters in church porches listing ringing activities

and...
Visit: The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers
Visit: The Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers
Visit: The Witney & Woodstock branch of Bell Ringers
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Photos © Keith Chandler

South Leigh Bells

We ring the bells on Sunday
And call all folk to pray.
A few will heed the message,
But more will stay away.

God’s bells give Him much pleasure,
And we enjoy them too.
So when we sound our message
What does that mean to you?

"The bells they sound so lovely,
We hear them all quite near.
They’re part of our tradition
And maybe more, that’s clear"

The bells can speak of Jesus
And what he came to do.
There’s blessing there for all of us
And for our children too!

So when you hear our ringing
Just offer up this prayer:-
"Lord Jesus, please bless me and mine
And keep us in Your care"
 
David Smith