Ringing Remembers is a nationwide project to honour the 1400 bell ringers that were lost during the First World War. Its aim is to recruit this number of of new ringers to join others, across the country, in ringing on the centenary of the Armistice in November 2018.
Nationally, the figure of 1400 has already been surpassed and amongst these will be five new ringers from our parish. We should now be able to ring on a more regular basis before Sunday Services.
As Martinstown bells are part of the village war memorial, having been installed after the Second World War, it is appropriate that they will be rung as part of the Centenary commemorations. In addition to Armistice Day ringing, there will be a full peal attempt on the morning of Monday 12th November. This will be by a visiting band who have been coming to St Martin’s monthly, on Friday mornings. The full peal will last just under three hours and will be the first since the Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
St Martin’s Church has a ring of 6 bells which were cast and set in an iron frame by John Taylor, Bellfounders of Loughborough, and incorporated the metal of the one remaining bell from an earlier ring of 4 bells. The new bells, costing £877, were paid for by funds raised through public subscription and were hung in 1947. They are Martinstown’s war memorial to the 5 men of this village who were killed on active service during the Second World War and whose names are commemorated on a tablet at the west end of the nave. The bells are tuned in the pitch of A, the tenor weighing 8 cwt.
We are particularly short of ringers at the moment so everybody - ringers and novices alike, are very welcome. Ringing for Sunday Services is occasional and Practice Night is Wednesdays at 7.30 pm.
A bit of history about our bells...
The first peal on these bells was rung on November 9th 1947 a few months after the new ring of six had been cast and installed by John Taylor & Co of Loughborough. In 1945 the village had decided to buy the bells as a War Memorial in memory of the five men from the parish who lost their lives in the Second World War. A tablet bearing the names of Frederick Chick, Alfred Dunford, John Hocking, Frederick Park, and Albert Trent is on the wall near the tower stairway. The total sum of £872 was collected principally by individual contributions. Five new bells were cast and a sixth, the large tenor of 8 cwt 1 qtr 4 lb, was recast from the metal of the one remaining bell of a former ring of four dating from 1746. The three others had been sold at some time to defray a debt. The inscription from this bell is reproduced on the new bell incorporating the name of Joseph Blanchard.
The Dorset Daily Echo of July 17th 1947 records the dedication service and particularly notes, “So great was the congregation that the service was relayed to an overflow congregation on the village green. The service was also relayed to the German Prisoner of War Camp opposite in appreciation of all the work put in by the Germans in getting the belfry ready and in helping to load and unload the bells.” Last November a half muffled quarter peal of 1260 changes was rung before the Remembrance Sunday service and it is hoped that this will become an annual part of the commemoration. The bells are considered “an excellent ring and sound well outside”. They make a fitting and active Memorial in Martinstown.
ref. Dalton Bells and Belfries of Dorset pt.II
Dorset Daily Echo 18 June and 17 July 1947