Hoby – Commemorative Half Muffled Quarter Peal

162I0205 (2)-219th May 2015 – WW1 Commemorative Half Muffled Quarter Peal

After two years of planning, the day finally arrived where the Society of Framland Ringers assisted the parish of All Saints, Hoby, by ringing the first WW1 commemorative half muffled quarter peal. Each quarter is to be rung on the 100th anniversary of the death of the men of Hoby who lost their lives during WW1. The first man to commemorate on 19th May 2015 was Private George Henry Sharpe. He died of pulmonary tuberculosis having contracted the disease in the trenches.

The evening commenced with a service of Evensong at Hoby Parish Church which had been well attended by the residents. When the bell ringers arrived, the service had ended and they were enjoying a glass of wine waiting for “the big event” to start.

A delayed start while a professional photographer took control to record the evening. Five very bemused ringers posed for the photos – they were not very pleased with the Society Secretary for accidentally on purpose omitting to inform them about the photos. The ringers proudly ascended the stairs to the tower to the ready and waiting half muffled bells. By this time, the locals flocked out of the church, set the audio recording equipment and waited for the spectacular ringing to commence. Our chairman and secretary (William and Wendy) mingled with the residents answering any questions that they had. Disappointed faces occurred when the bells stopped after a few rounds. William and Wendy were on hand to explain they were checking their ropes. One resident replied “but the bells were working on Sunday”- Another explanation followed!

The bells started up again. This time William and Wendy could hear that the method had started. “I thought they were going to be muffled – I can still hear them” one local proclaimed. Again William and Wendy attempted to explain and pointed out the echo effect as the bells were ringing.

After 35 minutes, the bells stopped ringing … Had they finished the quarter or had it all gone wrong?

One local said “We’ve been short changed. You said it would take 45 minutes. They’ve only been ringing for 35”. The recording had been switched off. William and Wendy remained positive and said we need to wait for the ringers to come down to see how they’ve done. Our Ringing Master, Liz, appeared. The crowd clapped and cheered … They didn’t get the quarter … Oh dear. What do we do now? This is the one we really needed to get without fail after all these months of preparation and advertising.

A quick swap around of ringers as Wendy stood in for Liz. A change of conductor and another plan of methods were discussed before a second attempt. We were all aware of the time limits to ring, so this was it. We rang, at a slightly faster pace, starting with Grandsire. An almost seamless change to Reverse Canterbury, and then Plain Bob followed. The St Simons followed but it was after this the fun and games really began. St Martins … somehow it was getting the better of us. A few crunches – several cringes on the faces of the ringers – a look of panic. We all knew the importance of getting through this. The final Plain Bob to finish off the quarter commenced. We heard “This is all”. What a relief! But by this time the locals had all gone so did not know we had achieved our goal. We had completed our tribute to Private George Henry Sharpe.

Part of the recording of the quarter can be heard via http://www.hobyanddistricthistory.co.uk/commemorative-half-muffled-quarter-peals/ along with further information about the events at Hoby.

Further details about George Henry Sharpe can be found via http://www.hobyanddistricthistory.co.uk/king-country/

Photograph supplied courtesy of Antonia Doyle Photography.


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