Ringing at Beckwithshaw
6 Bells, 13 cwt in F♯
Sunday Service Ringing: By arrangement only
Practice: Monday (except bank holidays) 6.30pm
Contact: Jon Bryant
The small but friendly bell ringing group is meeting again on Monday evenings. Visitors and new recruits, both learners and experienced ringers, are always welcome to join us.
St Michael’s church was built in 1886 by William Swinden Barber and funded by Dr Henry Williams of Moor Park House and his wife. The church is in an Arts and Craft Movement Gothic Revival style. The base of the tower serves as the porch, with the ringing chamber upstairs.
The six bells were cast at by Mears & Stainbank of Whitechapel in 1886 and are named after Dr Williams, his wife and four children. They hang in a wooden frame of two tiers of 3 bells of each. 1, 3 and 5 hang above 2, 4 and 6 putting the heavier bells upon the west side.
It is likely that the bells were raised up in the tower before the floor and ceiling were erected in the ringing chamber. The bells were first rung when the church was consecrated on the Feast of St Michael and All Angels (29th September) 1886 by the Knaresborough Band who rang an extent of 720 Bob Minor.
Each bell retains its original wooden headstock although a restoration has seen the fitting of independent crown staples and ball bearings. All the clappers are now of wrought iron.
In the 1970’s the original clapper of the third broke and was replaced by an SG-iron clapper, but it was not a success. It was too short and struck the bell in the wrong place making a deadened sound and the bell had the tendency to ring up “wrong” (clapper strikes wrong side of the bell). A partial solution was made in 1983 by padding the clapper bolt with washers. This clapper was finally replaced by a new wrought iron clapper of the correct length which had finally restored the tone of the bell.
The ropes of the back three bells have traditional Yorkshire Tails – woollen sallies on the tail-ends for backstroke in addition to the usual sallies for handstroke. The ropes of the front three bells have conventional tail ends. Yorkshire tails are becoming very rare – as of 2002, there were only about a dozen towers using them. The spider was made out of half of a rolling pin; the other half serving as the spider at St Peter’s.
All the bells bear the inscription
MEARS & STAINBANK, FOUNDERS, LONDON. 1886
Additionally each has a name of the donor’s family inscribed on the waist: Joshua (1), John (2), Annie (3), Mary (4), Ellen (5) and Henry (6).
St Michael and All Angels Parish Website
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