The Longworth Peal

The Hinton ringers are working to restore the bells at Longworth in their benefice that have been derelict since 1922.

They wanted to mark their campaign by ringing a peal on the centenary of the death of W.H. Rivers, the last Longworth Tower Captain, killed on the front line in the First World War but as Hinton church is undergoing major repairs Steve kindly gave them permission to ring it at All Saints’. All the ringers were in some way connected with the Longworth project.

The peal of 5040 Grandsire Triples (composed by J J Parker and conducted by Chris Pickford) took place at All Saints’ Faringdon on Thursday, 22nd December 2016 and took 2hrs 58 mins.

The ringers were:

Treble     Michele Winter                        Appleton

2              Valia Battat                  Hinton Waldrist

3              Steve Smith                Hinton Waldrist

4              Alan Eyles                   Christ Church Swindon

5              Jon Chamberlain        All Saints’ Faringdon

6              Alan Regin                  St Paul’s Cathedral, London

7              Chris Pickford                         Worcester Cathedral

Tenor      Brian Harris                 Christ Church Swindon

The bells were rung half-muffled to commemorate the centenary of the death of Private William Henry Rivers, Royal Berkshire Regiment, 2nd/4th Btn, killed in action at Albert, France on 22nd December 1916.

Alan Regin brought along the Rolls of Honour books which were displayed in the Barber Rooms during the peal. They are kept at St Paul’s and list the bell ringers who gave their lives for their country in the Great War. Entries of interest were not only William Rivers of Longworth but also F A Richings, P J Richings, T R Lardner and G W Haynes from All Saints’ Faringdon. In the ringing chamber at All Saints’ is a commemorative list of the ringers who died in the First World War. It includes A Walker. Does anyone know his story ?

Tunes are not possible on bells hung for English change ringing but because each bell is tuned to sound a chord the music is pleasing in whatever order they ring. Bell ringers’ tradition is to ring all possible changes to mark a special occasion. This would take about a minute at Buscot (4 bells, 24 changes) or 32 years at Oxford Cathedral (12 bells, 479 million changes) so since the eighteenth century, ringers have settled on the maximum number of seven bells (5040 changes, 3 hours) as a peal whatever the actual number of bells in the tower.

Anyone who is interested in ringing at Faringdon please contact us.