On October 12th 1841 a group of Hornchurch ringers travelled to Bobbingworth, according to legend, on foot. The purpose of the visit was to inaugurate the new ring of six bells that had just been installed. A board hanging in the porch ringing chamber reads as follows:
On the 175th anniversary we made a return visit and rang a quarter peal (1260 changes) of Double Court and Plain Bob Minor. These may not be exactly the same methods that were rung in 1841, but the precise details are lost in the mists of time. The ‘true and complete peals’ rung then would have been 720 changes each. A board in the Hornchurch tower records a similar performance rung some months later by almost exactly the same ringers.
The recent performance was conducted by our Ringing Master, Clive Stephenson, and the ringers were members of the current Hornchurch band and friends:
Wednesday, 12 October 2016 (13–0–3)
720 Double Court; 540 Plain Bob
1. Lionel S Woods
2. Jillian Laken
3. Helen J Carter
4. James Laken
5. Paul J Bloomfield
6. Clive J Stephenson (C)
Rung to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the opening of Bobbingworth bells on 12th October 1841 by the ‘Hornchurch Youths’, who rang 2 ‘peals’ (extents) of the same methods.
First of Double Court – 2.
Current day ‘Hornchurch Youths’. L – R: Jim Laken, Helen Carter, Paul Bloomfield, Jillian Laken, Clive Stephenson and Lionel Woods
A short extract from the quarter peal is available below:
Our thanks are due to Bobbingworth (sometimes known as Bovinger) Church and their ringers for the use of their bells.
St Andrew’s and South Ockendon bell ringers entered 2 teams for a striking competition designed to encourage new bell ringers to take part.
Each team consisted of 6 ringers of which the majority were new recruits having never taken part in such a competition before.
The competition was held at Dagenham Parish Church with 4 teams from the SW District of Essex taking part. Each team had to ring for between 5 and 8 minutes whilst the conductor moved the bells to different positions (Call Changes).
Despite lots of nerves and apprehension, both of our teams successfully completed their test pieces and finished in 2nd and 4th places, losing out to Epping in 1st place. All have resolved to take part again next year.
The photo shows some of the ringers who took part: L – R: Rosemarie Edwards, Terry Thornhill, Rose Kaziro, Steve Sampson, Michelle Long, John Stephenson and Jane Harper.
During World War I, men from the New Zealand army were stationed at Grey Towers in Hornchurch where their hospital was based.
Among them were 150 men from the Pacific Island of Niue who fought in France, with the allies, in the Battle of the Somme. Four of them died in Hornchurch of illness during June 1916 and their graves are in St Andrew’s Churchyard.
As part of the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme commemorations, a party from the Niue Return Services Association came to St Andrew’s for a special service of Remembrance and to visit the graves of their fellow countrymen.
A quarter peal was rung prior to the service and a commemorative plaque, shown below, is to be installed inside St Andrew’s Church.
St Andrew (18–0–0 in E♭)
Saturday, 17 September 2016
1. John W Stephenson
2. Ros C Skipper
3. Rebecca A Woolward
4. Gavin S Carpenter
5. Clive J Stephenson (C)
6. Anthony F Ammerlaan
Prior to a service commemorating the 100 years since soldiers from The Niue Islands fought alongside British troops on the Western Front in World War I.
Four such soldiers have graves in St Andrew’s churchyard, having died at a convalescent hospital based in Hornchurch at that time.