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St Margaret's Church

Bell Ringing

WHY BELLS?

Since the fifth century the Christian Church has used bells to call people to worship. They ring joyously for weddings, for victories and in celebration; they toll or ring muffled on occasions of sadness. Above all, bells proclaim that the Church is alive; they remind us of its presence. Bells, it has been claimed, are the only loud noise made to the glory of God.

"THE RINGING ISLE"

Church bells are part of the ringing tradition. Indeed the country has been described as the "The ringing isle". Bells are a valuable part of our heritage. With the frames in which they hang they represent the craft of the bell founders and bell hangers through the centuries. Many churches are proud of their bells. A heritage we have received, it is our responsibility to pass our bells in good order to the next generation.

HOW A BELL IS RUNG

The traditional English way of sounding a bell is to ring it full circle by rope and wheel, a method seldom found outside the British Isles. The full tonal qualities of a bell is thus produced. Belt ringing calls for skill, anticipation, timing and teamwork. It represents a challenge which is well within the capabilities of most people.

WHO RINGS BELLS?

There are about 40000 bell ringers in the British Isles. In most towers one finds a wide cross section of people from all walks of life, from children in their teens to the retired, men, women, boys and girls. They combine to form a band of ringers. For many bell ringing becomes a life-long hobby and a lifetime of service to the Church.

RINGING IS ORGANISED AND COORDINATED

Some fifty Bellringer’s Guilds together cover the British Isles. Their prime objective is to ensure that bells are rung regularly for divine worship. Their activities include training ringers, organising bellringer’s meetings and social events, fund raising for belt restoration projects and providing voluntary labour and expertise to reduce the costs of maintaining and restoring belts. All Guilds are represented on the Central Council of Church Bell ringers a national charitable body under whose auspices is published a weekly newspaper ‘The Ringing World’.

TRAINING RINGERS

The members of our local Guild provide instruction at our church or at nearby Yelvertoft. The Guild provides on going training at monthly Guild meetings in different churches within the Guilsborough branch. We are fortunate to have the former Branch Ringing Master, Robin Wilson, who is responsible for teaching close at hand. He is a member of the Yelvertoft band, which is one of the United Benefice churches. The Crick band was largely trained at Yelvertoft before our bells were restored.

PRACTICE TIMES

Crick 7.15 - 9.00 pm, on the 2nd. Thursday of the month AND 7.30 - 9.00pm on the 4th Friday of the month

Yelvertoft 7.30 - 9.00 pm, on every Friday except the 4th Friday of the month.

Lilbourne 7.30 - 9.00 pm, on the first and third Thursday of the month.

New bells

NEW BELLS

It was a pleasure for us recently to welcome back Bishop Paul to dedicate our 2 new bells to complete an octave. This was the culmination of 3 years of hard work to restore and augment our bells which had not been full circle rung in living memory. After the service Bishop Paul and his wife climbed the spiral staircase to see for themselves the major part of the restoration work which was carried out in 1996.

The first bell was named ‘Ave’ in memory of a Crick benefactor who in 1534 left £10 for an Ave bell which would have been rung at sunrise for first prayers. The second was named ‘Grace’ to remind us that despite our ambitions and talents and all the hard work and generosity which was brought to the project none of our achievements would have been possible except for the Grace of God.

After an invitation from our Rector to everyone in the village to restore our bells, a small committee was set up and Bishop Paul launched our appeal in December 1994. Then followed a year of intensive fund raising which brought the village and church together in a new way with special events every 2 or 3 weeks. We were also greatly supported by charitable trusts from outside and are especially grateful to the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers who set up our appeal with an incentive grant and to the Peterborough Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers who not only supported the original restoration but also the recent augmentation.

Three of the early 17th century bells were saved and by Easter 1996 these together with three new ones had been fitted in a new steel frame beneath the old wooden one which was beyond repair.

Crick Church now has an enthusiastic band of ringers of all ages which is ably led and taught by the nearby Yelvertoft ringers. Once again the bells of Crick are ringing out over the roof tops every Sunday morning to call people to worship as they have done for centuries before.

Crick Church Bells (Church Newsletter February 1998)

It seems only yesterday that I overheard our Rector making the comment that he wished there was somebody to take a look at our 4 unringable bells. That was less than 4 years ago and here we are today looking forward to the dedication of the final 2 bells to complete an octave. We will, of course, be very pleased to welcome back The Rt. Rev. Paul Barber, Bishop of Brixworth for this Dedication Service on 15 February at 9.30 am.

Despite our high ambitions, the talents, the hard work and the generosity of everyone involved in the project none of it would have been possible had it not been for the Grace of God. It is therefore entirely appropriate, as our Rector has pointed out, that one of the 2 bells should be name Grace, a suggestion made by Daphne Rusby. GRACE appears on the bell in 3 ways, in the original Greek form from the New Testament, XAPIS, the literal translation into English, CHARIS, and the modem English version, GRACE.

The bell which is to become the new treble of the octave is named ‘AVE’ (‘Hail’ in Latin) and inscribed in memory of a Crick benefactor, Peter Cave, (see later) who nearly 500 years ago left £10 in his will for an Ave bell. In very early times bells were not rung together as they are now but individually and each had a special purpose for being rung. An Ave bell was a very important bell and would have been rung in the early morning. This was an extension of the centuries old practice of saying an ‘Ave’ at nightfall when the evening bell was rung. AVE will be an appropriate name for the bell not only because it links the past with the future but because the Treble bell will always be rung as a service bell in hailing and welcoming people to worship even if no other bells are rung.

PETER CAVE (1497? - 1534)

On Highgate Hill in north London, Dick Whittington, a young mercers apprentice, rested to listen to the sound of Bow Bells as he left the town. They beckoned him back with Turn Again Whittington’ and so he did. Below him he could see the grey walls of London and the forest of spires within. He never looked back and found his fame and fortune becoming Mayor of London three times.

About 100 years later and the year is 1511. King Henry VIII has been on the throne for 2 years and a Crick lad, Peter Cave, has just celebrated his 14th birthday. Now, like Dick Whittington, it is his turn to set out on what must have been an awesome and treacherous journey down the Watling Street to London to seek his fame and fortune. He also never looked back but also never forgot his childhood Church of St Margaret.

Peter was bound in apprenticeship to the master draper William Dolphin, a member of the Guild of Drapers who traded in woollen cloth. The various guilds such as the Grocers, Mercers, Goldsmiths, Skinners etc were the backbone of the London business world in what is now the City and they elected the London Aldermen and the Mayor (now Lord Mayor). The Drapers Company is still the 3rd most important Livery Company and remains the benevolent institution it was when it was founded in 1364.

Peter made great progress as a draper and took his own apprentices, Thomas Trollop in 1520, John Byrd in 1523 and John Maydenhead in 1529. We also know that he sent his apprentice John Chamberlyn to trade in Flanders in 1521. In the same year he gave £2, (perhaps £1000 today) towards a loan from the Drapers Company to the King. It is doubtful whether Henry ever paid him back but it confirms that Peter had already found his fortune.

In 1532 Peter was elected as a Warden to the Drapers Company and was now a most respected member of the Company’s governing body. His death in 1534 curtailed what would have been the ‘normal’ career within the Company and having been elected Warden it is probable that he would have gone on to be the Master. In this position he may then have been eligible to become Mayor of London like Dick Whittington himself.

Peter Cave’s will of June 1534 is very detailed and makes several references to St. Margaret. It is clear that he was a very wealthy but equally benevolent person. He left money for a tomb to be built for himself; his wife and children in St Michael’s; Cornhill, London the Drapers Church. For the tomb he also left money for the making and gilding of a picture of St. Margaret and for a priest to sing for 10 years for his soul and those of his wife, children, friends and all Christian folk at his tomb and also at St. Margaret’s altar.

He describes in great detail the generous bequests to his fellow workers and parishioners in London and Crick. Also that at Crick, £10 shall be given to the performance (the making) of an Ave bell which would have been rung for first prayers at sunrise.

Item, I bequeathe towarde the making and gilding of a pictour of Sainte Margaret in Crick where I was borne, £5. Item, I give to poore maydens marriages, £10 and to the relieving of poore prisonners £10. item, I give towarde the performance of the Ave bell like as I have bounde me to, £10

The Tower Captain: Nick Hiams, 07598 33 55 60

The Steeple Keeper: Rob Palmer, 07926 15 18 11

The Clock Keeper: Geoff Brown, 01788 822 718