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I am a quilter living in Woodbridge, Suffolk who has made quilts since I was a teenager. I also ring bells! Both are great British traditions....I will try to feature some of my antique Welsh and Durham quilts, the quilts I make myself, my quilting activities and also some of my bellringing achievements. Plus as many photos as I can manage. NB: Double click on the photos to see greater detail, then use back button to return to the main page.

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Ringing Weekend to Staffordshire

Mike and I went on a ringing weekend to Staffordshire - an outing arranged by our friend Paul Norris of Norfolk. A variety of ringers from Suffolk and Norfolk came, together with a friend local to the area, Mitch. Paul had arranged a number of quarter peals for the more experienced ringers, while the learners had lots of practice under supervision. I rang in twelve attempts, ten of which were successful, and "grabbed " seventeen new towers. We stayed at The Piano Barn in Newborough - the same place we stayed when we had a similar outing eighteen months ago. But this time Paul hired the adjoining property as well, Poplar Farm. Each sleeps 8 or 9, so are very popular for family reunions, hen parties, and school reunions etc. We were allowed to carry the large kitchen table from one house to the other so that we could all have evening meals together - very pleasant.
We rang Cambridge Major at this tower, Mavesyn Ridware, eight bells 8cwt. This is an estate church and has some fantastic mediaeval tombs inside.
Another church that we rung at - Hoar Cross. This has a lovely heavy ring of six -heavy at 28 cwt but they go very well. This church was built by a wealthy widow in the 1860's and is a perfect example of a Victorian church built in an idealised Mediaeval decorated style. The church interior is stunning as the fittings are very sumptuous in the Anglo-Catholic style.

Having rung a quarter of Plain Bob Minor on the bells last time, this time the ringers went for Cambridge Minor ( more difficult as the bells have to dodge about more - not easy with such heavy bells). It sounded lovely and all were very pleased at the quarter. Here is Mike Clements ringing the backstroke on the tenor bell (the heaviest bell) while Mike is just about to catch the sally for handstroke. You can see the concentration!

We also rang at Abbotts Bromley, another nice eight. This church is famous as the resting place for a set of prehistoric horns, used in the famous annual Abbotts Bromley Horn Dance. I would like to see this - perhaps I'll have to go onto Utube and have a look. Last time we were a day too early. It seems that the dancers wear the heavy headpieces and dance about the village - stopping at each pub in turn and getting mightily drunk in the process. The dance takes an entire day and attracts massive crowds. Scientific research has shown that these horns are indeed authentic survivors of great antiquity, not a later invention. Of course the horns are reindeer horns which are not native to Britain. The horns rest in the church and are not allowed to leave - there is another set of replicas which can be taken to different festivals, though. The dancers positions are hereditary I think. A good example of the church taking over pre-existing pagan customs.

Hanbury, where we rang a quarter of Grandsire Triples. The weather was glorious and you can see that the daffodils were out in force.

Many thanks to Paul for arranging this, I only regret that we lost the Grandsire Caters at Loughborough Parish Church - it seemed to be going so well before it went all very wrong!!


  1. Oh my, I really am Jealous.... sigh... sounds like you had an awesome weekend.

  2. I really love these wonderful churches you have in UK...