Association Peal at Hevingham

An association peal at was rung at 5, tenor 12 cwt in G
Wednesday 19:30
on 26 October 2012.  Richard Carter has submitted the following peal report.

Hevingham Church Image

Hevingham Church

It’s a cool Friday night in October.  The nights are drawing in now and the clocks go back tomorrow. I park in the lay-by outside the church at Hevingham – you know the one?  – on the way to Aylsham where they often sell sweetcorn from a shack parked there.  Anyway we are here to try to ring a peal.  Someone has said that these haven’t had a peal rung on them for 100 years.  Yes I checked on Felstead.   There have only been 2 peals before, one in 1911 and the other 1912.  So who did ring in these peals and why hasn’t there been any others?

Here are the details of the first recorded peal (I say first as one never really knows) as published in the Association report for 1911:


Norwich Diocesan Association
Hevingham, Norfolk, St Mary the Virgin and St Botolph (14)
Sunday June 6th, 1911 in 2hours and 55 minutes

5040 Doubles
21 six-scores each of Grandsire and Plain Bob

  1. W. Savage
  2. George Farrow
  3. Sidney Allen
  4. Walter Allen
  5. Walter C. Medler

Conducted by W. C. Medler

There was no footnote but this was the day of George V’s coronation at Westminster Abbey so you might assume that it was rung this occasion.  The only other peal recorded was just over a year later

Norwich Diocesan Association
Hevingham, Norfolk, St Mary the Virgin and St Botolph (14)
Tuesday, November 19th, 1912

5040 Doubles
21 six-sores each of Grandsire and Plain Bob

  1. Horace Beane
  2. Walter Savage
  3. Gorge Farrow
  4. Walter Allen
  5. Walter C. Medler

Conducted by W. C. Medler

There doesn’t seem to be anything of note that happened that day all those years ago. So to the present day.

As I clambered up the ladder into the ringing chamber I recall a previous visit with wives dressed for a meal out and desiring not to be embarrassed from below so to speak.  Must remember not to look up!  Also there were the young blades who rang a quarter and upon finishing realised he latch on the trap had shut!! Saved by the mobile phone – and the long-suffering Mrs Turk..

I am last to arrive, as Is often the case, however Mike hasn’t finished administering blood transfusions to the plain bearings above so time to check what Shipway place is.   Peter S stands up and the floor oscillates in time to his footsteps.  This is not a reflection upon his size but more of an indication of how temporary ringing chamber floors can sometimes be!  I hope Richard A. stays put!  Mike descends the tower steps and scrambles up the ladder with his patent holdall of steeple keeper instruments of repair in hand.   All is well, the patients will survive. Ropes are adjusted last minute banter concluded and off we go.

Norwich Diocesan Association
Hevingham, Norfolk
St Mary V & St Botolph
Friday, 26 October 2012 in 2h52 (12)
5040 Doubles
14m: 3 extents each Shipway Place, Westminster II, Blackburn Place, Dragon Place, St Hilary, St Martins, St Osmund, Eynesbury, Plain Bob, Reverse Canterbury Place, St Nicholas, St Remigius, Huntley Place, Winchendon Place

  1. Peter J Sawyer
  2. Simon J T Smith
  3. Richard P J Carter
  4. Richard I Allton (C)
  5. Michael G Clements

The first peal on the bells for 100 years, rung to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Also a compliment to Richard and Rosie Carter on their Wedding Anniversary. First peal of Doubles: 1.

So why a gap of a hundred years between peals?   Well it could be any number of reasons: go of the bells,  population dispersal, lack of interest, location.

There was a 4 bell frame that was adapted when the bells were augmented to 5 in 1902 by Day of Eye.   They were rung up to the 1940’s.  None of the band were lost during the First World War although there was a Medler and an Allen killed in Action – maybe this affected the enthusiasm of the band.  Who knows?   You can only guess at what impact that the war had on people’s lives.  After the Second World War the bells’ condition and go deteriorated especially as there appears to have been no one doing any maintenance.  By 1977 the bells had become very poor.  Two of the bells were found to be cracked,  there were cracked gudgeon’s and broken canons.   The NDA recovery team led by Aubrey Foster leapt into action.  The second was sent away to be welded and have its canons removed.  The fourth was found to be so badly cracked that it was deemed irreparable.  This bell was replaced by the tenor from Illington church which at that time had become redundant and had closed.  A fuller report of the work carried out can be found on page 426 of the Ringing World dated 29/4/1994.

Details of the current ring of five are as follows:

  • Treble:  Anno Domini 1633 (cast by Alice and William Brend of Norwich)
  • Second:  John Brend Made Me – 1656
  • Third:  Charles Newman Made Mee 1701 E Hunt  R Sewell CW (Probably cast at Blakeney)
  • Fourth:  Lester & Pack of London fecit 1765 John Smith & Chas Gallow CH Wardens
  • Fifth:  IS FEIT 1723 Robert Sexton Edward Wright Chvrch Wardens (John Stevens of Norwich)

I enjoyed the peal.  A new five, in a minor mode – other minor rings of bells have been retuned or reformed – made such a pleasant change to ring on.   Standing there I reflected on the number of people who had rung these bells in the intervening hundred years.  Who were they?  What did they ring?  Why didn’t they leave others to maintain the tradition of ringing here at Hevingham?  Anyway ‘That’s all,’ is called, bells lowered and off to the pub!