[Bell Historians] Rockbourne, Hants.

Tim Jackson tim at timjackson.email
Sun Sep 4 23:39:01 BST 2022

The quick answer is yes, we are aware of people who have rung Rockbourne full-circle. And yes, still listed as full-circle because the bells were still in their bearings albeit with most or all other fittings removed when we looked maybe 15 years ago.

Of course, the situation might now be different.

Tim (Dove Steward)

Sent from my iPhone

On 4 Sep 2022, at 23:31, Ted Steele <bells at tedsteele.plus.com> wrote:

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 clock.”

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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