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Belfry News from Elloe - May 2016

"Belfry news for Queen & St. George"

The morning of Thursday, April 21st was particularly enjoyable for a group of ringers and friends, when we rang Gedney bells in honour of our Queen's 90th birthday. The idea was mooted by Churchwarden Jill, who joined us on this occasion-pleasant to see you "having a heave" Jill. Following the ringing , all assembled below the ringing room, where a moving prayer was read by Rector Adrian, who then proposed the loyal toast.

On the following St Georges Day we had one of our periodic outings, the usual and pleasant format, with ringing at Walpole St Andrew, then Walpole St Peter, lunch at "The Victory", Clenchwarton, followed by more ringing on the delightful five bells of St Margaret, Clenchwarton. Walpole St Andrew is a redundant church and has been since 1986 when all decamped to nearby Walpole St Peter, known as "the Cathedral of the Fens" Oh dear, the interior of St Andrews looks badly in need of "TLC", the nave pillars badly eroded by , we were told, rising damp. However, the bells, although in place since 1905, are in good condition-a cast iron "H" section bell frame, but hung on plain bearings which required oiling, My son Stephen, an experienced rock climber, was soon over the frame, oil bottle in hand- "a piece of cake" he said. These bells are of pleasant tone, somewhat surprising considering the various founders and dates of casting. Before we leave St Andrews mention must be made of what seems to have been an "Anchorite Cell", an appendage on the western exterior wall of the tower. Anchorites were, I'm told, a sort of religious hermit who opted for permanent enclosure in cells often attached to churches. Well, this accommodation would not have been pleasant-not at all- in either warm or cold weather, open as it is to the vagaries of our climate.

Ringing at all three churches comprised call changes, Grandsire and Plain Bob and for me, most enjoyable to have as a visitor. Eric Roberts, now 72 years old, and who I taught to ring at Cosby, Leics., as an enthusiasic freckled 12 year old. Well the freckles have long gone but the enthusiasm remains. Thanks to those who gave permission to ring and for meeting us at these towers. One final thought- I was under the distinct impression that St Mary Magdalene Gedney is "THE Cathedral of the Fens."

John Bennett - Gedney Tower