Barrow Bells - Tower News
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This page will present news about the tower with the most recent at the top of the page
Heritage Lottery Fund - Microgrant - "Barrow Bellringing Public Engagement and Access"
Excited, grateful and proud to announce that the grant award for the full £3,000 was made on 9th January, and money released with permission to start work on 12th February
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has just awarded £3,000 for work associated with the belltower at St James the Great in Barrow-in-Furness. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the grant covers six elements which focus on access, training facilities, and the heritage of the bells.
A handrail to the ringing room will be extended to the top of the tower to help visitors reach the viewing gallery in the old belfry where the visitors can see the dramatic spectacle of the bells ringing just a couple of metres below them.
An 8 bell simulator will provide a training facility that can be used to provide extra training sessions to help people of all ages learn the skills involved without disturbing neighbouring residents. This will be supported by a leaflet introducing bellringing and encourage recruitment by explaining what an interesting and enjoyable activity it is.
The grant will also be used to emphasise the heritage, both historic and social, by creation of a 70 page photobook describing the bell restoration project (including a copy to be presented to the local records office), a leaflet to describe the heritage of the bells, and a plaque to commemorate a long serving tower captain.
There will be open days this year in spring and autumn for the public to see the bells, photobook, leaflets, and find out more about the heritage of our bells and what bellringing has to offer everyone in today’s world.
There will also be an open and free invitation to learn to ring, especially this year for the government backed campaign to recruit 1400 new ringers nationwide in time to learn to ring for the centenary of Armistice day in November. The ‘Ringing Remembers’ website introduces this project, and it is also possible to register online, or contact Andy Pollock (Contact Details) - email/text messages anytime, calls best during evenings or weekend.
Bellringing does not need much strength but offers a moderate ‘workout’ for both body and mind, and is a great activity that develops concentration, precision and teamwork. It is suitable for anyone from secondary school age upwards and develops skills and friendships that will be useful and welcomed wherever you live. Preserving a unique skill, it is free to learn, and can help to celebrate local/national events and weddings.
To find out more please visit www.barrowbells.org.uk for information and contact details. The first open day will be announced as soon as the new handrail is completed and installed, but anyone who would like to ‘give it a go’ earlier can get in touch and we will put you in touch with a tower in Furness and South Lakes.
Commenting on the award, tower captain Andy Pollock said: “We are thrilled to have received support thanks to National Lottery players and look forward to welcoming members of the public to see and learn about these fantastic bells in Barrow, and offer better facilities for people across the Furness area to learn and preserve this amazing skill for generations to come.”
Christmas morning service we manage to get all 8 bell ringing for service.
Wishing everyone a HAPPY CHRISTMAS and good health and comfort in 2018.
Ringing for Crib Service
Christmas eve celebrations in the tower, with Local ringers and family, plus Owen and Martin from Dalton
NW Evening Mail Carol Service
All 8 bells ringing for NWEM Carol service, with help from Phoebe, AlanD, and Owen to boost our other ringers Jo, Sue, AlanJ, Ray, Andrew, Cameron and Jason
Quarter peal and service ringing for Choral Evensong
Pleased to announce and congratulate Cameron for his successful quarter peal on an inside bell on just the second attempt.
That is his second successful quarter peal (the first being on the treble), and his rapid progress shows promise to overtake his dad and become a much more accomplished and competent ringer. Conductor is proud father and Godfather.
It was great to welcome Dennis Ellisdon back to St James for the quarter, and Phoebe as solid as a rock on the treble.
Scouts Visit Tower
Simulator Workshop - St. Annes Parish Church
A simulator workshop (see notice on LACR website) was held at St Anne's Parish Church in mid November.
This newly installed (2017) bellringing training facility was being used to explore the opportunities it offered to individuals (learners) and for training officers. There was a tangible 'buzz' of excitement and interest, and a hive of activity from several independent training sessions taking place at the same time.
The tower is quite large and had sufficient space in one corner to have a 'dumb bell' that could be rung even as all the other bells are rung. This had a set of headphones for the learner, a computer and a large computer monitor.
There was another simulator setup to practice handbells, but I wanted to focus on tower bells, so left this for another opportunity in the future
The simulator can also be used to allow all bells to be rung tied to have a 'silent practice' for residents and passers-by outside the church, but audible inside the ringing room using audio speakers. In this way it is possible to have extended teaching and ringing sessions for whole range of ringing from basic handling practice to full practice with rounds & calls, plain hunt, method, touches etc. without disturbing the neighbourhood and so avoid any potential complaints.
Since the workshop the Barrow simulator has been updated to the latest software, and we have successfully set up with a projector to project larger image of the animated ringers and make it even easier to develop ropesight and improve striking. If anyone would like to come along to Barrow by arrangement to have a go and try out this setup, I would be pleased to accommodate. I am sure I will be organising a simulator workshop for our branch in the near future
Branch Ringing Meeting at Barrow
The Furness & South Lakeland Branch of the LACR held their monthly meeting at St James. There was an opportunity to have a longer ringing session by using the branch simulator for and additional 45 minutes before the normal ringing session on open bells. Jeg from Millom kindly wrote a summary of the afternoon which was published in the branch newsletter:
Funeral Service ringing for Eric Pearce
We rang the Church bells before and after the funeral service for Eric Clarke Pearce who passed away peacefully at Furness General Hospital, on 23rd September, 2017. He was a gentleman, and someone who quietly got on and made things happen without any fuss and without expecting any recognition. He was an easy person to get on with, friendly and interested in you but a quiet and relatively private person himself. We were very fond of Eric and will miss him dearly, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, and especially Brenda his beloved wife and Churchwarden at St James.
Safeguarding course at Workington
Jo Sweeney and Andy Pollock drove to workington for a safeguarding course by the Carlisle diocese tailored for bellringing - particularly for those involved in teaching bellringing (but anyone who has connection/responsibility for ringing and vulnerable persons at a belltower in the diocese.
Regrettably we arrived 10 minutes late after a long drive, and were unable to gain entry into the church (locked out). The course was apparently a success, and a rerun has been promised in the South of the county sometime
Funeral Service ringing for June Parkinson
We rang the bells to remember the life of June Parkinson who passed away on 17th August at the age of 73. She had a bright and cheerful nature with a disarming smile and infectious sense of humour that brightened up the day for everyone around her. Our thoughts are with all her family and especially her devoted husband Ken who is a bellringer at St James. She always loved to hear the bells and we hope they brought some comfort today. We will all miss her but we are grateful that we had the privilege of knowing her and giving us happy memories. God bless June.
140th Anniversary Peal for the bells of St James
A peal was rung to celebrate and mark the 140th anniversary of the bells, with ringers from Barrow, Broughton, Hawkshead, Whittington, Heptonstall, and Cambridge.
Peal Details Online: Ringing World BellBoard
Branch 6-Bell Striking Competition
Barrow entered two teams into the striking competition, the A team consisting of 3 members of the tower and 3 regular visitors to the Barrow practice, ringing two plain courses of Plain Bob Minor, and the B team (dubbed the re-B-el team as not all ringers were members of the LACR through choice or not being elected yet, and so would not be eligible to be ranked) was an all Barrow tower team, and was announced as a 'scratch' team.
The A-team had an early mistake which led to further faults, and so it was called round and re-attempted. Unfortunately the false start was the undoing of our team this year, but this was partly due to a lack of practice as a team beforehand. The attempt after the false start was much better and a good standard, with notable performances by Sue managing very well on the treble and Cameron similarly accomplished on the 3rd. Roll-on 2018 when we can show what we are capable of, with even more progress over the next 12 months.
The B-Team had Jo on treble, Sue on 2nd, Jason and Cameron on the 3rd and 4th respectively, Andy Pollock on the 5th, and Ken on tenor. Ringing rounds and call changes, congratulations to all the team for ringing exceptionally well, and special recognition to Jason who had not even led before the evening and managed one brief practice before the main piece where he coped admirably.
It is very clear that we have made real progress together over the last 2 years since the restoration of the bells. Well done all!
All 8 bells at St James were rung for the marriage of Adam Ritch and Anya Graham.
BBC MUSIC DAY 2017
Call was sent out to take part in BBC Music Day by central council (CCCBR) and passed on by association...
We set up for a cross-generational band for a quarter peal with range of ages covering over 55 years between youngest and oldest. There were ringers in teenage years, 20's, 50's, 60's and 70's.
The ringing was extremely good, and our youngest ringer was attempting first quarter peal on a working 'inside' method bell for plain bob minor. Unfortunately, as we were about to begin the final course, having rung for almost 45 minutes with barely a hesitation or mistake, there was a mix up and within a further lead where the next to last call was to be called, we had lost the quarter with just a few minutes ringing remaining.
This was a great shame as the everyone's ringing deserved to get the quarter peal, but there will always be another opportunity to try... we will have to arrange the next attempt soon.
At least the people of Hindpool and within earshot of the church were treated to some fine ringing, including Adam Ritch and Anya Graham who were having their rehearsal for their wedding at the weekend.
MEANDYRING #8: Hawkshead - Langdale (Chapel Stile)
The branch monthly meeting was scheduled for Holy Trinity church in Chapel Stile in Langdale so we arranged to meet up at Hawkshead for an early ring and see whether the weather would allow us to go for a walk in-between. Below is a brief account and a reduced selection of thumbnail phots from the day... more can be seen on Flickr photostream, and also in Jo Sweeney's photo blog.
The weather does not look very promising, but we meet up at 9am at Hawkshead. Clarissa joined us earlier than she originally expected
All 8 bells at St James were rung for the marriage of Melanie Graham and Darren Reid.
MEANDYRING #7: Orton - PendragonCastle - KirkbyStephen
The branch monthly meeting was scheduled for Kirkby Stephen so we siezed the opportunity to visit Orton and go for a gentle potter along the River Eden beforehand. Below is a brief account and a reduced selection of thumbnail phots from the day... more can be seen on Flickr photostream, and also in Jo Sweeney's photo blog.
A great start to the day - worth the early start to get to Orton before 9am - after browsing the farmers market and succumbing to temptation to buy fresh sourdough bread, ginger sticky toffee pudding and tiramisu cheescake (pity there was no cheese stall), Andy Pollock & sons, Jo Sweeney, and Sue Fryer visited kennedy's fine chocolates (expensive but worth savouring) and enjoyed a large hot chocolate in the shop café
Tower Training Day and Meal
A sandwich course! Two sessions of ringing training for our learners (including visitors) sandwiched a very enjoyable and relaxed meal at the King Alfred on Walney Island.
The first session was rung on the 6 bell branch simulator, the first time it had been used for a full silent practice (normally just used for individual bell-handling tuition before practice night). The simulator worked exceptionally well and allowed us to have more ringing in the day with less disturbance for the local residents surrounding the church. The bell handling and sound for the learners is a satisfactory compromise, but it would be important to finish off the day without the simulator (the bells rung open) to ring the bells for real.
Each learner had at least one target to work on learning, and each learner took turns to try their learning objective with the support of the helpers, including our own experienced ringers Clarissa and Andy, and fantastic support from Ian Taylor and Alan Dewar (ringers at Ulverston), and Keith and Anne Hackney (ring all over the branch!). Good progress was made but the afternoon session promised to consolidate and make further prohgress.
Lunch was an integral part of the day (no surprise to anyone who knows Andy!) and having chopped and changed venue a few times we eventually stuck with Jo Sweene's suggestion of the King Alfred. A large round table could accommodate everyone who stayed on for lunch, and Andrew Smith eventually found his way to join us. The food was yummy, and plenty of it
It was just as well we had an extended period to eat and digest lunch without rushing.... I don't think I could have moved after my burger...
We were joined by Owen Osmotherley and Jacqueline Preston for the afternoon session, and with their help we completed a very successful day.
Thanks to everyone! for sacrificing time to help and support the learning on the day, and the learners from Barrow and Ulverston for working hard and striving to make progress. Good progress was made, and a lot of fun was had along the way. A thoroughly enjoyable day, and one that will strengthen the ringing in the area.
St George's day - quarter peal
The back 6 bells at St James were rung for a quarter peal (well over 1000 changes) to celebrate St George's day and 'Ringing for England'. The quarter peal took about 49 minutes to ring and was Camerons first ever quarter peal, and he rang the treble impeccably. Congratulations Cameron - an achievement very well done!
Pancakes and Praise!
All 8 bells were rung for the special 'Believe in Barrow' service welcoming, participating and sharing with people from all across Barrow including Anglican, Methodist, Salvation Army etc. The service ended with over 200 pancakes and lots ofg different toppings.
CDGCBR Training Day
Four intrepid adventurers from Barrow set off early for a day of ringing in Carlisle Diocesan Guild as part of their training day, driving over a frosty and slippy Corney Fell to meet at Hensingham at 9.30am to register, and elect new members (5 ringers from Barrow were duly elected to join two existing members from our tower), and then work out transport and set off to respective towers.
Iwan was a learner in the learning ropesight group in which Andy was a helper. Clarissa helped in one of the two groups dedicated to new ringers gaining experience of changing place - concentrating on speed, bell control and striking. Cameron was in the more advanced group looking at first methods and touches of these methods.
Morning and afternoon sessions gave plenty of opportunity to try out and consolidate what what was learnt. There was just enough helpers for the helpers to grab a break occasionally, but Clarissa and Andy rang almost every ring (and were tired but satisfied they had contributed to the success of the day).
Cameron practiced touches of plain bob doubles (which his first attempt was only at practice the wednesday before the training course) at Cleator Moor, and Arlecdon. At Whitehaven and Hensingham, Iwan trebled to various methods (including touches to mix up the order he passed the bells) including Plain Bob, Grandsire, St Simons and St Clements.
Lunch was pre-booked at nearly pubs, and was an opportunity to have a rest and enjoy good food and company.
All the ringers - tutors, helpers and students seemed to have a good time, and everyone finished the day with the rewarding feeling that real progress had been made!
Group 2 end of day photo at Hensingham
|Saturday||28||Visiting Ringers - Whickham Ringers Reunion Trip.
Barrow welcomed a group of bell-ringers on a ringing tour of Furness and South Lakeland (Barrow, Broughton, Dalton, Ulverston and Flookburgh). Unfortunately the weather was dismal with fine misty rain and a chilly breeze, but the bells would hopefully make up for the conditions outside.
About 8 ringers arrived early and were ushered inside out of the rain, followed about five minutes later by a further group armed with hot drinks and cakes for breakfast! A good plan I thought.
They patiently waited for the chimes to strike 9am and then rang the bells up nicely in peal.
Ringing included rounds, Stedman, and Pudsey plus others, and they were clearly enjoying themselves. Some took advantage of the opportunity to climb further up the tower to the old belfry to see and hear the bells ringing below their feet!
Photograph courtesy of Helen Rubery
After 45 minutes ringing the group prepared to set off to Broughton by catching the next train to Foxfield. As they departed, some of the ringers recalled the difficult and average sounding bells from before the restoration, and commented on how good the bells sounded now, and what a good job had been done with the tuning of the bells. We were espescially pleased to know they enjoyed the bells.
Tenor tolls for Holocaust Memorial Day
A single bell was rung half-muffled from 7pm for approx. 18 minutes on the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz death camp. Setting the tenor bell very briefly on each stroke meant the toll was slow and a poingnant reminder to all those in earshot of the church that we must not forget this and other genocides.
Holocaust Memorial Day aims to ensure we do not forget all the victims and people affected by genocides such as the Holocaust and Nazi Persecution, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur and to ensure we continue to learn the lessons from the past to create a safer, and better future.
The church was also open until 7.30pm for anyone from the local or wider community to come and say a private prayer or sit in quiet contemplation.
HLF Stakeholder Meeting
Andy Pollock attended a stakeholder meeting chaired by Heritage Lottery Fund development officer Maya Sharma with the new head of region Nathan Lee, kindly hosted by Signal Films at their offices in Cookes Studios on Abbey Road.
It was a very interesting meeting with lots of very enthusiastic representatives of different historic and natural heritage sites and resources. There were lots of constructive discussions about what there was to offer and how we could try and spread the word to local residents and visitors.
Later in the day Maya Sharma was able to visit the tower to see the magnificent results of the HLF funded project to restore the bells. She managed to reach the ringing room with the aid of the handrail but declined a visit to see the bells close up from old or new belfry. She learned about the bells, the restoration, how we ring the bells, and even had a go herself. Heritage and traditional skills in a modern context!
Maya Sharma (HLF development officer) meets the bellringers, learns about the restoration project and tries her hand at ringing!
MEANDYRING #6 - Hampsfell walk for Cartmel branch ringing meeting
There was no early ring organised, but when the weather looked promising, a walk was arranged to coincide with the branch ringing meeting at Cartmel. Eight people - ringers and family went for a gentle and short walk up Hampsfell, a hill behind Grange-over-Sands with great views over Cartmel and to the Lakeland fells.