[Bell Historians] Rockbourne, Hants.

Ted Steele bells at tedsteele.plus.com
Sun Sep 4 23:29:35 BST 2022

I am staying in Rockbourne, Hants. for a week and so naturally 
interested in the church and bells, listed in Dove as an unringable 3. 
There is local interest in the bells because, as I was confidently told 
by a parishioner; /"Our bell has been restored and it is going to be 
rededicated tomorrow"/.  A quick internet search revealed newspaper 
items reporting that as a consequence of substantial grants the bells 
would peal out again. For example the Salisbury journal: /"The bells 
will ring once again at St Andrew’s Church in Rockbourne, thanks to a 
grant of £12,000 from the National Churches Trust. The National Churches 
Trust’s Cornerstone Grant will help fund urgent work to the village 
church and keep the building at the heart of the local community. The 
church also received a £7,500 Wolfson Fabric Repair Grant from the 
Wolfson Foundation, on the recommendation of the National Churches 
Trust. Following the news, Rockbourne PC secretary Sue Thompson said: 
“The completion of this work, remedying a situation which has caused the 
bell tower to become unsafe and the bells to fall silent for several 
years, will raise the profile of the church in the village. It will 
allow the peal to ring out once again and facilitate maintenance of the 

The following link 
<https://greendaleconstruction.com/st-andrews-church-rockbourne/> shows 
that the work was actually on the tower rather than the bells and seems 
to indicate that the Dove entry is incorrect in stating that these are a 
full circle ring. The pictures focus on the work done on the timbers of 
the tower but also show that the bells lack wheels and stays. They 
appear to show that these might have been fitted at some time, but if 
so, when and why were they removed? It does not appear that this was 
part of the "restoration" work and I suspect that Ellacombe chiming has 
been as much "pealing"as these bells have done in a long time. Dove also 
refers to a "/ground floor ringing chamber/". There is an open space 
under the tower and rope holes can be seen in the roof above. There is a 
three rope Ellacombe frame that appears to be in good order, with rather 
faded and dusty instructions for chiming plain hunt on three tucked 
behind the ropes.

So, can anyone say whether these bells ever were rung full circle? If 
they were then at what stage would they cease to qualify as a "Full 
Circle Ring" for Dove purposes? Clearly temporary removal of stays and 
wheels does not justify this designation, nor does the disappearance of 
these fittings due to dereliction, but deliberate and apparently 
permanent removal, as appears to be the case at Rockbourne perhaps does. 
I am not aware of a Dove convention on what constitutes a full circle 
ring (or fails to); is one needed? Have I just missed it?

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