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Essex Association of Change Ringers

St. Peter's Great Totham

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News from the Belfry 
Most months an article "News from the Belfry" appears in the Great Totham Parish Magazine. Links to some of the articles are below. You will require Adobe Reader to open them. The February 2018 edition of the magazine included an entertaining article "Diary of a Novice Campanologist" see below.
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May 2015   June 2015   November 2015  May 2016   June 2016    October 2016  May 2017  June 2017  July/August 2017

Diary of a Novice Campanologist   20 Years of Campanology    Bell Ringing in Capetown

Ringing for the Coronation Service of King Charles III

 On Saturday 6th May between 9 and 10am 17 ringers rung the bells at Saint Peter's Church. The ringing comprised chiming, rounds,
 call changes and plain hunt.

Ringing for the Coronation of King Charles III

Ringing following the death of Queen Elizabeth II

     The Death of Queen Elizabeth                          Accession of King Charles III                                 Before the State Funeral

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8th 2022 the bells at St. Peter's Church were rung the following day. The tennor was half muffled whilst the other five were fully muffled. Ringing commenced at non with five minutes of rounds followed by five minutes of the tennor bell tolling. This pattern continued until one pm. The bells remained muffled until the following day when the accession of King Charles the third took place. The muffles were then removed to ring the bells to celebrate the accession of the King marking the begining of the Carolean age. Five ringers from St. Peter's rang rounds and call changes for thirty minutes. The bells remained unmuffled for ringing for the Harvest Festival on Sunday morning when rouns and call changes were rung on the back four. The muffles were then repaced for ringing on the Sunday prior to the State Funeral. On Monday September 19th September all the bells were rung up with the tenor half muffled and the other five half muffled. Seven ringers were present and ringing commenced at 11am. The ringers rang rounds and call changes interesperd with intermittent tolling of the tennor bell. On cessation of ringing the bells were left up to enable the easy removal of the muffles and sunsequently rung down to a safe position.

Covid Pandemic

On 17th March 2020 Janice our Tower Captain sent the following e-mail to the band. "Following the announcement yesterday about keeping safe are we in agreement to abandon Friday evening practices until further notice and do we feel the same about ringing on a Sunday morning". The consensus of the band was that we would stop ringing and our practice on Friday 20th March was cancelled. From the 4th July the Church of England allowed bells to be rung in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR). However it was not until 9th August and the first service held at St. Peter's since the lockdown that we rang the bells. However it was only on three bells to maintain social distancing and for fifteen minutes, which included ringing the bells up and then down. A CCCBR update  on 10th  December enabled towers to ring six bells at Christmas providing the ropes were at least 1 metre apart.  The ropes were checked and it was a close call with ropes 3 to 4 and 5 to 6 measuring the minimum distance. A further CCCBR update on 21st December 2020 told us all to stay at home and the same day the clergy decided that the Christmas Morning service would be on-line. Ringing was sporadic until July 2021 when our practice nights resumed but with no visitors! However in December  with a new Covid outbreak the Christingle Services were cancelled and there were insufficent ringers of the Midnight Mass and Christmas morning Service.
2022 and normal ringing has resumed. On Friday 17th June we hosted the first District Practice since 2019.

Our congratulations go to David Kemsley who rung the tenor at All Saints Inworth to a Quarter Peal of Plain Bob Doubles on 2nd February
 2020. This was his first Quarter Peal.

Our post Christmas lunch was on 16th January 2020 and once again held at Forrester Park who did us proud. Thirty guests including ringing friends from Tollesbury, Tolleshunt D'arcy, Maldon and  Danbury enjoyed a delicious lunch.

Congratulations to Mandy and Peter Mickelsen who were duly nominated and elected as members of the Essex Association of Change Ringers. This occurred at the EACR South East District meeting held on 7th September at St. Mary Burnham-on-Crouch. This was only achieved through the excellent guidance and tuiton of our tower capatin Janice.

Tower Outing Saturday 23rd February 2019
On a bright Saturday afternoon in February a team of bell-ringers from St. Peter's Tower in Great Totham set off with a mix of enthusiasm and intrepidation to visit four church towers in Essex.
Tower Captain Janice Spalding organised the afternnon and we first went to Downham St. Margarets Church near Hanningfield. The view from the church hill was stunning and we did our very best to match the view and ring the bells with skill. Our second church tower was All Saints in Rettenden and again with different ropes and an unusual ringing chamber, the Totham ringers did well.
Following Janice's map references we set off to Danbury and St. John the Baptist Church Tower. The rope chamber was unusually approached via a trap door, on which one bell-ringer would stand. Now this tower presented the Totham Campanologists with a new challenge 8 bells instead of 6. Could we cope? With Janice's help of course we could!! With 5pm approaching the intrepid band from Great Totham were at All Saints in Maldon. Another 8 bell challenge but the recently over-hauled bells were a delight to ring and sounded great.
Now we were looking forward to "fish and chips" at "Friendly Frier" cafe to round of the day. Our thanks go to Janice and all who helped organise the afternoon an enjoyable sucess.
Duncan Grant.

On Remembrance Sunday 2018 there were nineteen ringers present to ring before the 11.45 service. It was fortunate that ringing started forty-five minutes before the service started instead of the normal thirty minutes. So we all had the opportunity to ring! The band comprised four visitors and fifteen Great Totham ringers. The five ringers in the photograph, back row Peter, Cliff and Mandy and front row Henry and Jessica, were Ringing Remembers Recruits. At 12.30 there was open tinging, the half muffles having been removed for Ringing Remembers. The band comprised sixteen Great Totham Ringers. Rounds and Call Changes on six, Plain Hunt and Plain Bob Doubles were rung.

Clif and Sandra, two of our new ringers were elected members of the Essex Association of Change Ringers at the South East District meeting held 1st September 2018 at St. Thomas Church Bradwell-on-Sea.

Twelve teams took part in the Essex Association 6 bell striking competition held at St.Peter's Church Great Totham on Saturday 16th July 2018.

Twenty members of Great Totham WI visited St. Peter's Church on July 12th 2018 to the sound of the bells being rung. Janice our Tower Captain gave a talk on bell ringing, and with the aid of a model, explained full circle ringing. Daphne spoke about hand bell ringing. There is a band of hand bell ringers at St. Peter's Church. Andrew talked about the Ringing Remembers campaign and made reference to the two Great Totham ringers who served in the First World War. Charles Henry Ballard died and Frank Newman servived. Finally Duncan gave an insight of his experience as a learner. Note the Dairy of a Novice Camanologist, above, written for the Parish Magazine above. Six of the ladies had a go at chiming a bell. Two of them subsequently tried ringing the backstroke with the assistance of Janice. There was a demonstration of handbell ringing before we adjourned to the church extension for tea and cake provided by members of the WI.

Tower Bells Floral DisplayThe bi-annual St. Peter's Church Flower Festival was held over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend.Handbell Ringers Floral Display This year the theme was songs. Chris and Jenny created the floral display "I'm Getting Married in the Morning" on the behalf of the church bell ringers. Daphne, Irene and Redbeka created the handbell ringers floral display "Oranges and Lemons."  The church bells were rung for the festival opening on the Saturday morning and again in the afternoon. It was ringing as normal on Sunday and the bells were also rung before Evensong. The handbells were also rung during the festival.

Our post Christmas lunch was held on January 28th at Forrester Park Great Totham. Ringing friends from Maldon All Saints, Danbury and Halstead joined Great Totham tingers and partners for lunch.

The Essex Association of Change Ringers six bell Call Change Competion was held at All Saints Church Inworth on Saturday 13th May 2017. A joint All Saints and St. Peter's band entered the competition. The band comprised three ringers from each tower. I am pleased to announce that the band were the winners of the competition.

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