[Bell Historians] Bell Historians Peal at Romsey

A Willis zen16073 at z...
Fri Nov 14 20:04:08 GMT 2003

Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit

A Willis
The Salisbury Journal covered a wide area, but the Isle of Wight was not
included in its remit. If you have ever looked at an 18th century newspaper
you will realise that 'local' news occupied a very small amout of space;
IIRC only about 1/3 of a column for this edition.

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
newspapers that might mention Romsey’s new bells was very high due to
Newspaper Stamp Tax.
[A Willis] Maybe, but newspapers were bought by a few, and read by many.
The bells probably travelled by sea to Christchurch and up the Avon
navigation to Romsey, and would have been the subject of considerable
gossip. Don't underestimate the local grape vine, and people writing
letters to friends. No doubt there was also something in the London papers.
'Mr Mears is pleased to announce a new ring of eight bells for Rumsey, Hants
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.
[A Willis] The incumbent may have had one.

1.. How did they communicate with the local ringers, or with the
incumbent ? How did they obtain the address ? The Penny Post dates from
10th January 1840.
[A Willis] There was a pretty efficient postal system wll before the
before the penny post, whose main achievement was that the sender, rather
than the recipient paid.
2.. Could they read and write ? Date of the Elementary Education Act is
9th August 1870.
[A Willis] They could probably read, but they may not have been able to
write. The latter was an entirely separate art, and was not taught
simultaneously with reading, as it is today.
3.. 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,
and finally diagonally on any spaces left.
[A Willis] That was to save money on postage. Usually the recipient
paid according to the number of sheets received.
4.. How did they travel to Romsey ? By very expensive Stage Coach ?
These were slow and unsprung, until the invention of the elliptical spring
in 1804. Where did they find the coach timetable ? (The first train from
Nine Elms to Hampshire (Southampton) departed on 11th May 1840.)
[A Willis] Coach timetables were well publicised, I believe at the
appropriate London Inn from which they departed, not to mention in the
5.. What route was followed from London ? Only a few Turnpike Roads
crossed Hampshire then, and the surfaces were so bad that maximum coach
speed was 10 m.p.h. It was 1815 before John Mc Adam introduced improved
road surfaces.
[A Willis] They may have gone by sea to Christchurch.
6.. Where did they stay overnight ? Could they afford a Coaching Inn.
Which one was it ? How could you book for eight in advance ?
[A Willis] Yes, you could write ahead.
7.. How did they travel onwards to a port ? Southampton or Portsmouth ?
[A Willis] might have been Lymington.
8.. 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
Steam Packet Company was not formed until 1826.
[A Willis] I would be very surprised if there was not a well advertised
ferry service (wind permitting) to and from the Island from the days of
9.. How did they travel to Newport and Carisbrooke ? The railway only
reached Newport on 16th June 1862.
[A Willis] They may have walked. In the first years of the 20th century
the Bath ringers used to walk the 8 miles along the Kennet and Avon Canal to
Bradford, ring a peal and walk home again as an Easter Monday occupation.
10.. They probably arrived late at Carisbrooke, after a slow journey.
How 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
during 1807.
[A Willis] Our ringing chamber was lit by a lanthorn with 4 candles in
it, before the gas arrived in 1887. If you are used to a low level of
lighting, then it probably wouldn't bother you. Anyway, ringers are
supposed to listen!
I think you are severely underestimating the degree of 'civilisation' of
18th century life. Try some reading. Parson Woodford's Diary shows how much
people travelled. Woodford himself though nothing of journeys between
Castle Cary, Oxford, London and Norwich. You will also get a good idea of
just how much in touch with the world a person could be, if they cared to be
so. Jane Austen's novels, though written in Regency times do reflect a late
18th century way of life.

I think your retirement should be very full of interest. Enjoy yourself.

Anne Willis

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.ringingworld.co.uk/pipermail/bell-historians/attachments/20031114/eb83d19d/attachment.html>

More information about the Bell-historians mailing list