Rules of the Belltower
Rules of the Belfry 1883The word 'belfry' is in common use meaning bell tower, but according to Transactions of the BGAS 13;286,'belfry' had no connection with bells, for its earliest meaning was penthouse or sheltershed. Apparently the word is still used in that sense in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. Anyway, read on!
Parish Magazine. 1883, JUNE. St Michael's, Winterbourne. WINTERBOURN RINGERS. " Ears open; Eyes wide; Feet steady; Tongue tied." 1. Their Conduct. The Ringers, being employed in the House of God, must try, with His help, to live sober, respectable lives, and set a good example to others. 2. Churchgoing. As the Bells call the people to Church, those who ring them must "practise what they preach," and attend the Service at least once every Sunday. 3. The Belfry. Seeing that the Belfry is part of the Church, good order and decent behaviour must be observed in it: to secure which the three following rules shall be strictly attended to (1) There shall be no smoking nor drinking in it. (2) No looker-on, or strange Ringer, shall be admitted, except at the invitation of one of the Ringers, and with the good-will of all. (3) The door of the Belfry shall be locked half an hour before the Service, after the Ringers have all entered. 4. Sunday Ringing. The Bells shall be rung, or chimed, before Service on all Sundays of the year, and on Christmas Day, for half an hour. For the last three minutes a single shall be tolled. 5. Holiday Ringing. The Bells may not be rung without the consent of the Rector, except on the following occasions: Michaelmas Day; the Queen's Coronation Day; the Fifth of November; and on the last and first days of the year. They may also be rung for Weddings in the Parish Church; for which the payment shall be as follows: For a whole week-day's ringing £2. For ringing in the evening 10 shillings. Ringing for Weddings on Sundays must be done either before the Wedding takes place, or in the evening, and the payment shall be 10 shillings. 6. Practice. There shall be one practice evening in the week, when all the Members of the band must attend, 7. Officers. The Ringers shall choose each year from among themselves, a Leader and a Treasurer, who shall receive their moneys, and see that they are fairly divided; and whose duty it shall be to keep order in the Belfry, and to report any complaints, or irregularities, to the Rector. 8. Forfeits. If any member of the Band be absent from the regular practice, or from the Sunday ringing or chiming, except by general consent, or by reason of sickness, he shall forfeit 3d each time. The forfeits are to be kept in a book and added to the general fund.
The Ringers. Last month's Magazine contained the Rules of the Winterbourn Band of Ringers; their names are now given. Henry Skidmore (Leader), John Bisp (Treasurer), Bill Bird, George Bisp, Sydney Bisp, Austin Curtis, Albert Goodman, John Skidmore, George Winter.
Rules of the Belfry 1890
It looks like the rules were presented for signature the next day! The original signatories were George Bisp, Sydney Bisp, Henry Skidmore, George Winter, Albert Goodman, John Skidmore, John Bisp which agrees with names given in the Church magazine. The names seen on the rules are actually written on a piece of paper stuck over the original.
Winterbourne Parish Magazine. JANUARY 1891. THE CHURCH BELLS. At a Vestry Meeting on Friday, Nov 28, it was agreed that the old ringers should again be employed under a slightly modified set of rules, and should be appointed like other Parish Officers from Easter to Easter.
Here's a photograph of the bellringers in January 1896, printed here by kind permission of Jennie Hawkins, daughter of George Gale. George was brought up in Winterbourne. His mother was Nora Winter, daughter of George Winter, who appears in the picture. The list of names tallies with some of the signatures on the 1890 rules.
Left to right: G Winter,Conductor, F Bisp,2nd, W Winter,Treble, F Thompson,5th, Rev HJ Bassett,3rd, G Horseman,Tenor
Michael Horseman of Clutton, Bristol, who gives talks on bellringing to local organisations, believes that Geo Horseman, one of the signatories above and in the photograph, was his Grandfather. Although Michael never knew his Grandfather, he understands that George was a stonemason and was involved in the building of the Cabot Tower.
Winterbourne Parish Magazine April 1915 Bell Ringing. The Parish will be glad to know that a fresh start has been made in the matter of bell ringing. Two meetings of the ringers have been held, rules framed, and we may expect to hear the bells, besides on the great Festivals of the Church, on the 1st Sunday in the month evening, and the 3rd Sunday morning.
The Jefferies Connection.From 1757 to the early 1900s, only simple change-ringing was practised in local churches. When the "New Scientific Methods" of ringing were invented, they were practised only in the large towns. Mr John Jefferies (Grandfather of Tower Captain Terry Jefferies) used to cycle into town to learn the new methods of ringing and returned to the village towers of Mangotsfield and Winterbourne where he passed on his knowledge of the "New Scientific Method"
WINTERBOURNE, Glos. At the Church of St Michael Monday November 30th, 1931 in 3 Hours 4 Minutes a Peal of Bob Minor 5040 Changes Frederick Leaker . . . Treble Thomas James . . . . 2 Samuel Phillips . . . 3 Frank Skidmore . . . . 4 Joseph Dyke . . . . 5 John Jefferies . . . . Tenor Conducted by J.T.Dyke First Peal on the Bells
St Michael's Bellringers, 1930s or 1940s.
Ernie Thomas, C Curtis, Fred Smart, George Manning, Steve Shipway,
Walt Cornish, Frank Curtis, Billy Barton.
St Michael's Bellringers 2006