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Barrow Bells - Tower News Archive for 2012

Please send an email to the address given for Ringing/Tower Contact on the Contact Us page if you wish to be informed when updates are made to the news page.

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This page will present news about the tower with the most recent at the top of the page

December November October September August July June May April March February January

All images © Andrew Pollock (www.barrowbells.org.uk) or NW Evening Mail. To ask permission to use - please see contact us page.

December 2012

Monday31Some corrections have been made to the PDF containing Barrow Peals 1953 to 1999. The new version can be reached from the Peal Records page (under History section of the website).

NW Evening Mail - Carol Service

An excellent service of carols and readings led by Rev. John Hodgkinson, and featuring children from St James' Junior School.

The Carol service was reported in the NW Evening mail in two versions which are sadly no longer available online:

The proceeds from collection and a cake raffle have raised over £300 for the Bell Appeal (£228.65 collection, £75.50 raffle).

Congratulations to Mrs Moscrop who bought the winning raffle ticket (Blue #27) and was presented with the Christmas cake in the shape of a bell (see picture on right) that was made and donated by Sheila Greenway, mother of one of St James' ringers Frazer Smith.


Andy Pollock rings before BBC Radio Cumbria Carol Service at St Mary's, Dalton-in-Furness, and sings with one of his sons in the church choir. During the service an interesting poem is read that mentions how bells can touch a persons life:

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was filled with sorrow at the tragic death of his wife in a fire in 1861. The Civil War broke out the same year, and it seemed this was an additional punishment. Two years later, Longfellow was again saddened to learn that his own son had been seriously wounded in the Army of the Potomac.

Sitting down to his desk, one Christmas Day, he heard the church bells ringing. It was in this setting that Longfellow wrote these lines:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
There is no peace on earth, I said;
"For hate is strong
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep.
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep!
The wrong shall fail,
The right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men!"


Received donation of £24.50 from 17th Barrow (St Perran's) Cub Scouts, that the cubs had collectively earned by doing chores as part of their community badges. Well Done, and thank-you!


Peter Fawcett - author of HAND-BELL RINGING The Living Tradition - Ringing For Gold informs me that Barrow-in-Furness St James hand-bell ringers entered the British Open (handbell ringing competition) in 1871 and 1873. The conductor was John Marshall (who is not listed as a member of LACR, so will have to see if mentioned in Tower Log Book).

There is a copy of the book in the reference section in Kendal, and we are trying to secure another copy for the reference section/local studies in the library in Barrow.

We have a sizable collection of hand bells dating from this period, but they do need restoring (a future project, or perhaps from any surplus funds we raise from our main restoration).

If you wish to get your own copy of Peter Fawcett's book, please visit www.ringingforgold.co.uk for more information.

November 2012


Presentation of £300 cheque from NW Evening Mail by the editor Jonathan Lee features in two page article in the newspaper (pages 14 and 15). :D


The main text and reduced quality images of the feature article can be viewed on-line here

Better quality images can be seen in PHOTO GALLERY 7

Tuesday13Ronald East from the Carlisle Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers makes a site visit in his capacity as a mamber of Carlisle DAC (Diocesan Advisory Committee), to view existing state of tower and bells, and discuss plans submitted in Faculty Application with Andy Pollock and Malcolm Craig (Church Architect).
Thursday1First money from bell fund (£170) spent on Faculty Application to Carlisle Diocese to obtain permission to make changes proposed in the restoration project.

October 2012

Wednesday31Andrew Davidson makes a site visit on behalf of English Heritage, and is shown the state of the existing bell installation, and discusses restoration project plans with Andy Pollock and Malcolm Craig (Church Architect). He is very positive and encouraging about all the restoration plans, including removal of old frame and relocation of bells lower in the tower.

Visit from 17th Barrow (St Perran's) Cubs

Ten Cubs with Akela, Shere Khan, and Bagheera, came to St James to do some community help, and busily polished brass in the church.
They were rewarded afterwards with a chance to ring rounds, queens and tittums on 12 handbells, plain hunt into reverse rounds on 6 handbells, and ring the tune Pop Goes The Weasel! ... All were rung very successfully.
The Cubs were taken up to see the Church bells in the tower. Many gasped when they saw how big the bells were, and they asked many interesting questions while they learnt about the project to restore the bells.
The cubs are also going to do chores around their homes over half-term holiday to earn coins to donate toward the restoration project. Well Done! and Thank You!


The St James' Bells Appeal committee are pleased to announce that we have received a generous donation of £5,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation

September 2012


The North West Evening Mail has kindly pledged a very welcome £300 to the Bells Appeal

The cheque will be presented in a few weeks time. We look forward to receiving the cheque and providing a progress update for publication.

August 2012


July 2012

Friday27Olympic Ringing
Celebrating the start of the London Olympics 2012 - Martin Creed work No.1197

See BBC Webpage About this Bellringing across the nation
Mark Latimer agreed to turn out at the allotted time (8.12am) to chime the 2nd bell for 3 minutes so that St James could take part in the nationwide ringing 'Art' to celebrate the start of the Olympics.
The 'artistic' credentials may or may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is clearly a once in a lifetime opportunity to enter into the spirit of celebration for the Olympics. Unfortunately unable to ring all 8 bells until restored (see BELL RESTORATION APPEAL to help.)



Tower correspondent Andy Pollock has completed his fundraising marathon swim. He began in September 2011 and has swum 135 miles breaststroke, overcoming set-backs along the way (e.g. seriously torn ligaments in foot/ankle).

He has raised over £900 for the St James' Church Bells Restoration Appeal, as well as over £250 for scout minibus, and £74 for Marie Curie Cancer Care along the way (by taking part in the national Swimathon)

His achievement was reported in a full page article in the NW Evening Mail on Monday July 30th edition on page 8 - see SCOUT LEADER BOOSTS CHARITIES WITH SWIM

For many more details about the swim, please visit Sponsored Swim Status


Andy Pollock and family took part and represented Barrow tower in the branch treasure hunt - on foot in Cartmel this year, and came joint first, so a tie-breaker was needed, and we were pipped!

Many thanks to Eileen for setting the treasure hunt. We all had a very enjoyable time.


Branch 6-bell striking competition at Ulverston.

Unfortunately Barrow tower were unable to get enough lapsed and local ringers together to enter a team this year, but Andy Pollock went along anyway, and was encouraged to have a go in a 'scratch' team made up of the youngest ringer from each of the other teams that entered. Unfortunately a misunderstanding about how many courses of Grandsire Doubles were necessary the calling lead to just half the required changes being rung! The ringing standard was rather good and getting much better as we continued. This was very pleasing for such a young team (mostly), without any previous practice together. Pity our team scored more faults because we had to be penalised for ringing too few changes (Ooops!).

Five teams competed (Bowness, Dalton, Flookburgh, Kendal, and Ulverston) with the scratch team taking part just for the fun of it. Dalton-in-Furness were eventual winners, retaining the trophy, and narrowly beating Kendal, a single fault seperating the two teams.

There is no online copy of the article, but if you visit archives or NW Evening Mail offices, you can see the article on the community news page, p28 or Thursday August 9th edition of the NW Evening Mail


Feature in NW Evening Mail - "Ring in the changes and save Barrow's last bells"

Double page feature in NW Evening Mail about St James' bells and restoration and ringing at St Mary's Dalton.

Thursday5Sponsored Swim has passed the 200km point! just over 16km/10miles to go! - see Sponsored Swim Status

June 2012


Received a generous donation of £500 from the Carlisle Diocesan Guild of Bell-Ringers. Brilliant thank you!

Weekend22 - 24


Four very successful open day sessions were advertised (see Open Days Information) and held at St James over the weekend of 22nd to 24th June
John Woodcock MP opened the event in the driving rain that literally poured through the tower (weather protection will be part of the restoration project)
More photographs from the open days are available to view in Gallery 6.

On Saturday afternoon the Mayor (Cllr Wendy Maddox) came along and returned later in civvies to enjoy the various activities, including handbell ringing as you can see in the gallery.

Hands-on! There was opportunities to try your hand at splicing two pieces of bell rope to join them together.

Hands-on! There was a Wombel bell simulator (more info) that had been kindly provided by Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers (YACR), and featured on BBC Radio Cumbria on Sunday morning. The local newspaper also provided good publicity with a feature on the open day including image of Wombel, and "memories" page showing tower photos of ringing outings in years gone by - one member of the congregation has since named most people on two of the three photographs, which have been annotated in PHOTO GALLERY 4. The Wombel proved very popular, as did the handbell ringing with Keith Newby - one visitor said "very interesting especially the handbells. I thought I'd pop in for 20 mins, here 2 hours later."

There was a powerpoint presentation of the restoration project plans, Virtual Belfry and several videos all running.

  1. BBC Four - Still Ringing After All These Years (Short History of Bells)
  2. Guy Fox - How to Make a Bell - 10 minute film short suitable for children
  3. Worcester - Bells in the City (Ringing the Changes for an English Tradition) - 6 mins
  4. Peppercorn - Up the Spiral Staircase: exploring the social side of bellringing - 5 mins

There were bell simulators e.g. Virtual Belfry

There was a stall for the local woodturners who we hope will recycle some of the old frame, headstocks and stays into memorabilia. Other stalls for Leck Construction who will do the building work and were showing images of their involvement with restoration of the roof and West window a decade earlier.

There was a constant stream of visitors wanting to take the tour of the tower to learn of the history of the bells, see the sorry state of our bells, and examples of good fixtures and fittings loaned by our bell-hangers Nicholson Engineering. Many also took the opportunity to chime the 2nd

The members of the PCC manned stalls for tombola, refreshments, cake stall, bric-a-brac and grand raffle, and which collectively raised over £540 for the restoration project.
We would like to express our special thanks to those local businesses who generously supported our fundraising by donating raffle prizes:

  • DW Sports Fitness
  • Nuffield Health
  • Dandy's Furniture Store
  • Stollers Furniture World
  • Searle Audio
  • Howdens Joinery Co.
  • Heaths Toymaster
  • Furness Railway (JD Weatherspoon)
  • Salvanas (Italian Restaurant)
  • Coffee Bean (Cafe)
  • Winfields
  • Baby Bitz
  • Lidl
  • Tesco
  • Apollo Cinemas

The objective of the open days was not just fundraising (though this was welcome). It was also an opportunity to connect with the community, to provide an opportunity for them to find out more about the project, and for us to seek their opinions that could hopefully be used to demonstrate community interest and support for the restoration project. Over 100 people wrote in the visitor log and 98% said it was very good, 2% Good and 0% OK/Bad. This will certainly help our applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Just one person had any objections, and they were concerned that lowering the bells in the tower would spoil the sound, but did not leave a comment in the visitor log (despite being recommended to do so).

We now move on to securing the faculty to be permitted to begin work, after which we can make formal application to the Heritage Lottery Fund who have been talking ball-park figures that could be sufficient to swing into action. The current financial based on early estimates, adjusted for the impact of VAT following revocation of zero rating on listed building projects

FUNDING (inc VAT ) July 2012
Bank Account£27,500
Grants promised£8,000
Volunteer labour promised£14,000
Major donor promised£11,000
Ringers Grants anticipated£11,000
Remaining funds to raise£26,500



Two articles in the NW Evening Mail!

1. "Chance to give bells a ring" (p15) with photo of Wombel being rung by Jo Pollock inside St James', and inset photo of exterior of St James.
2. "Climb into hidden land of giant church bells" on memories page (p31) and illustrated with photos from Gallery 4

Note: image does not load on NW Evening Mail page, so please look at Gallery 4 on this website



One of our ringers Frazer Smith has married Adele Pugh at St Mary's Church on Walney Island.

Wishing you both our best wishes for a long and happy life together.

Later featured in LoveWeekend supplement in NW Evening Mail on 8th September, and updated on website here on 11th September.

Monday11A column headed "Fun Days to raise funds for bells" appears on p25 in today's NW Evening Mail, announcing our forthcoming Open Days

May 2012

Saturday26St James' Spring Fair, with display boards telling all about bellringing and the history and restoration project of the bells.
Thursday24Donation received from 17th Barrow (St Perran's) Scout Group. Thank you.
Thursday10Donations received from St Mary Crosthwaite Ringers. Brilliant!

Branch Ringing Outing to Towers in North Cheshire

10:00 - 11:00St James, CHRISTLETON812126
Stained Glass Window at St Andrew's Church, Tarvin
11:15 - 12:00St Andrew, TARVIN6818
13:15 - 14:15St Helen, TARPORLEY81107
14:45 - 15:30St Mary the Virgin, WEAVERHAM69023
16:00 - 17:00St Matthew, STRETTON88318
17:15 - 18:30All Saints, DARESBURY81615

A great day was enjoyed by everone who went along, despite the regrettable casualties of two broken stays during the visit to St Andrew TARVIN.

A ringing outing is always a pleasure, and several tower outings are documented in the tower log book as far back as 1886 when there was a trip to Hornby, Melling and Kirkby Lonsdale.

It is always a pleasure to ring at unfamiliar churches - each of which is a gem in the stunning heritage of this country, and each offering different history, architectural features, ringing experiences, and surprises!

Particularly unusual and interesting on this ringing trip were the alcoves/recesses in the walls at Christleton for the ringer to stand in while ringing their bell! There was a beautiful modern stained glass window at Tarvin, and finally those of us unfamiliar with All Saints church in Daresbury discovered that there was a connection with Lewis Carroll. His father was vicar in Daresbury between 1827 to 1843, and Lewis Carroll spent his childhood there up until he was 11 years old. There is now an exhibition in the Church in addition to the stained glass windows with Alice in Wonderland characters, and there are even mats in the ringing room which have mad hatters depicted on them! Well worth a visit, see http://www.lewiscarrollcentre.org.uk/

April 2012

Monday30Made contact with the Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers, specifically Gail Caters and Brian Sanders, and they confirm the YACR's Wombel is available for our Open Days!
Sunday29Swimathon - Andy Pollock completes individual challenge in 1 hour 56 minutes and 42 seconds, swimming the whole 5km distance breaststroke as part of his Sponsored Swim in aid of the Bells Appeal, and also raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care
Tuesday24Collected display stands, and example bell fittings including wheel, headstock, clapper, bearing, pulleys, stay and slider from Mark Pring of Nicholson Engineering who was at Finsthwaite removing tubular bells for overhaul and reinstallation with chiming mechanism.
Saturday21St James' Bells Committee Meeting, and visit from Paresh Patel of BBC Look North filming for a documentary series about community projects in Olympic and Jubilee Year.
£18,830.17 now in bank account, Sharp Trust awarded £400, and Travis Perkins (Chris Salmon) are offering some materials, haulage, storage
The Budget looks as if it will remove the VAT zero-rating from this project, thus adding about £15,000 to it. Letters are being sent to John Woodcock MP
Extensive discussions about plans for the Open Days in June.
Wednesday19£2,100 grant awarded by trustees of Cumbria Waste Management Environmental Trust. To claim once work has commenced. Superb!
Wednesday18Generous donation received from Doug Beaumont, grandson of former long-term tower captain James E Burles. Fantastic!

March 2012

Wednesday28BAE SYSTEMS £500 donation is received. Thankyou!
Wednesday21Bad news for project in the Budget. Zero rated VAT on listed buildings is being revoked by the chancellor George Osborne. This could add over £12,000 to the project costs!
Wednesday21Cumbria Waste Management Environmental Trust visited on Monday and the Grants Panel convened today and recommended that £2,100 is awarded from a possible £3,000 based on area, available funds, and nature of application. Recommendation to be presented to the trustees on 18 April.
Sunday18Quarter Peal of 1260 changes of Grandsire Triples was rung at St Mary, Dalton-in-Furness in 51 minutes.
Ringers were:
1. Stanley Walmsley, 2. Jacqueline Preston, 3. Carole Pullin, 4. Geoff Pullin,
5. Dennis Ellisdon (C), 6. J Andrew Polock, 7. Johnny Bamford, 8. Owen Osmotherley.
Rung as a compliment to all mothers on mothering Sunday.
Sunday18Bells Sub-Committee Meeting.
Drawings show bells just 10 feet below current position. Need to be explore and update to bring new position further down tower so closer to floor of middle chamber.
  • £500 pledged by Hadfield Trust (thankyou);
  • Cumbria Waste Management Environmental Trust would visit tomorrow in response to application
  • Travis Perkins have expressed an interest in support for project with materials and logistics.
  • Your Heritage interested in project to the tune of a possible 5-figure sum with some evidence of community involvement and support
Public Relations:
  • Andy Pollock has setup a splendid new website, and also submitted an article for Proclaim!
  • Elaine Dunkley of BBC Look North West was unable to attend today but hopes to manage to visit on 21 April
  • Open Days being planned for June 22-24 to invite public to learn more about the project and bellringing in general.
Wednesday7Receive Tax Refund for Gift Aided Donations of £426.30 - thank you everyone who has asked to Gift Aid their donation so far... keep it going!

February 2012

Sunday19Sponsored Swim Featured on BBC Radio Cumbria - Sunday Breakfast Show. Paul Braithwaite standing for Richard Corrie
Friday17Sponsored Swim has passed the half-way point! - see Sponsored Swim Status
Thursday2The Revd. John Hodgkinson licenced as our Vicar in the North Barrow Team Ministry by the Robert Freeman (Bishop of Penrith) and Penny Driver (Archdeacon)
  February edition of Proclaim! has article titled "Splashing & Ringing in 2012" by Andrew Pollock
Provides an update about fundraising (including sponsored swim) and also draws attention to the new St James' Bells website

January 2012

Tuesday24Bell Appeal Fund Update
Furness Building Society donation of £138 recieved to cover the cost of a pulley wheel - Thankyou.
Generous donations from Mrs Greenhalf, Mr & Mrs Rigg, Mr & Mrs Caldwell, Mrs Hill, Mrs Hoyle, Gordon Corby, and others; along with the first proceeds of the 135 mile sponsored swim, have added approx. £1,500 to the bell restoration account in the last month.
The total in the account is now £16,844.85
Saturday14New Domain www.barrowbells.org.uk.
The old website URL remains valid (for time being), and in fact the new domain just redirects your browser to the old web page.
If we ever change the web host from talktalk, the old http://www.andy-jo.talktalk.net/home.html web page will no longer work.
The new domain http://www.barrowbells.org.uk/ will automatically redirect you to the new web host.
Please update your records and any bookmarks in your browser to use http://www.barrowbells.org.uk/
  Article penned by Geoff Pullin about St James' Bells features in the January edition of Proclaim! (the Church magazine)

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