Bell Historians Peal at Romsey
Derek Ruth Jackson
DCJ at w...
Fri Nov 14 18:29:32 GMT 2003
Bell Historians Peal at Romsey 29 Oct. 2003
The excerpt from "The Salisbury Journal of 1791 provides yet an=
( 3h. 13m ) for the "accurate" first peal scored at Romsey by the College Y=
[From the peal book of the College Youths]
Rumsey in the Mead, Hants
Monday July 18 1791. This Company rang a true peal
of 5248 changes Oxford Treble Bob in 3 hours & 20 minutes
This was the opening & first peal on the New Bells=20
and was called by Mr. Thos Blakemore.
" The Hampshire Chronicle ", Monday 25th. July 1791
Mon. last a new peal of 8 bells, cast by Mr. Thomas Meares, of =
Whitechapel, late Lister, Pack and Co. was opened at Romsey, by the Society=
of College Youths from London, with a peal of Oxford treble bobs, consisti=
ng of 5248 changes, being the extent of 13 courses which was completed in 3=
hrs. 29 mins. With that accuracy which ever distinguished the performances=
of that company, and to the entire satisfaction of the inhabitants of the =
town, as well as to a numerous assemblage from different parts of the count=
Both newspaper accounts failed to mention that the band then moved on to th=
e Isle of Wight and scored a 5088 of Oxford Treble Bob at St. Mary's, Caris=
brooke, on 20th July 1791, two days later. Subsequently the following ques=
tions occur to me :-
1.. How did they know there were eight bells at Romsey and Carisbrooke ? =
Dove's Guide first edition appeared in 1950. The price of the few newspap=
ers that might mention Romsey's new bells was very high due to Newspaper St=
2.. How did peal bands time their performances in the 18th century ? The=
price of a pocket watch was far beyond the means of a working man.
3.. How did they communicate with the local ringers, or with the incumben=
t ? How did they obtain the address ? The Penny Post dates from 10th Janu=
4.. Could they read and write ? Date of the Elementary Education Act is =
9th August 1870.
5.. Could they afford to buy writing paper ? Was it not very expensive ?=
Letters at that time were written on both sides, then round both edges, a=
nd finally diagonally on any spaces left.
6.. How did they travel to Romsey ? By very expensive Stage Coach ? The=
se were slow and unsprung, until the invention of the elliptical spring in =
1804. Where did they find the coach timetable ? (The first train from Nin=
e Elms to Hampshire (Southampton) departed on 11th May 1840.)
7.. What route was followed from London ? Only a few Turnpike Roads cros=
sed Hampshire then, and the surfaces were so bad that maximum coach speed w=
as 10 m.p.h. It was 1815 before John Mc Adam introduced improved road surf=
8.. Where did they stay overnight ? Could they afford a Coaching Inn. W=
hich one was it ? How could you book for eight in advance ?
9.. How did they travel onwards to a port ? Southampton or Portsmouth ?
10.. How did they sail to the Isle of Wight ? How, in London, would they=
know details and times of passenger carrying boats ? The Isle of Wight St=
eam Packet Company was not formed until 1826.
11.. How did they travel to Newport and Carisbrooke ? The railway only r=
eached Newport on 16th June 1862.
12.. They probably arrived late at Carisbrooke, after a slow journey. Ho=
w did they ring in the dark evening ? How did any ringers practice at the =
end of a long, working day on dark evenings ? Churches were not lit by gas=
until late 19th century. Street gas lighting first appeared in Pall Mall =
There would seem to be quite a large amount of research into peripheral rin=
ging items that could occupy my retirement !
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