Bell ringing outing

Report from Caroline Prescott on this year’s visit to Staines

May 21st saw the bellringers head out for their spring outing.

Bellringing outings are a popular event within the ringing community. An area is chosen and five or six churches are booked to visit. The bells are rung at each church and local ringers often turn out to meet us. Non-ringing church members make us welcome and are keen to show us around the church – we sometimes get offered a cup of tea!!. It is
a wonderful way to keep the ringing community in touch, as well as a way for us to get together and enjoy a day out.

East Bedfont Church

East Bedfont Church

This year we headed for the Staines area. Our first church was East Bedfont. This church is said to be the oldest surviving building in the London borough of Hounslow, with the nave dating back to 1150. We were shown fragments of a wall painting dated 1240-1250 which were “hidden” during the Reformation. The impressive topiary of two peacocks outside the church was meant to represent two sisters who refused to marry, and were mocked by members of the congregation. They were first cut in 1704, and restored in 1865. Having been neglected between 1940 and 1990, they have been re-instated.
In convoy, cars headed off to Staines to ring at both St. Mary’s and St. Peters. St. Peter’s a Victorian church, certainly made us feel nostalgic as it was on the bank of the Thames, a real home from home.
We arrived at St. John the Baptist Egham just as a wedding had finished, so we rang the bells to see the bride and groom on their way. This tower gave us the challenge of ten bells as opposed to the eight we have at Battersea.

St. Peter’s Chertsy, a ground floor ring

St. Peter’s Chertsy, a ground floor ring

The last tower of the day was St. Peter’s Chertsy, a ground floor ring that saw us ringing at the back of the church. The height of the tower and three thick floors up to the bells meant that a microphone had to be run from the bells down to the ground floor to enable us to hear what was going on!
After a full day’s ringing, some sore hands, but lots of sunshine, we made our way home enthusiastic for ringing in the weeks to come!