St. Andrew's Hornchurch Guild of Change Ringers

Welcome to the home of the Hornchurch Bell Ringers. Please take a look around to find out more about the art of bellringing and what the ringers get up to at St. Andrew's.

Learn to Ring

Learn to Ring

Interested in learning to ring church bells? All ages and welcome.

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The Bells

The Bells

St. Andrew's Church has 10 bells made from 1779 to 2014.

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The Church

The Church

On the exterior east end of the Church a bull's head that gives the town its name can be seen.

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Tony’s 80th Birthday Celebration in the Tower

Bell ringer Tony Ammerlaan celebrated his 80th birthday on Sunday 22nd September 2019.

Tony has been a bell ringer at St Andrew’s for a large number of those 80 years.

He was taught to ring in 1953, aged 14, and rang his first quarter peal in 1957, on the tenor to Plain Bob Triples.

St Andrew’s tower was closed for 3 years in 1958 and Tony then began a long break from bell ringing to start a family. It was his old school friend and work colleague, Ray Rogers, who persuaded Tony to return to the tower in the mid 1990’s and Tony has remained a loyal member of the band ever since.

In 2003 he took on the role of steeple keeper whose job it is to keep the bells in good working order and the tower clean and tidy. In this respect, Tony has done an excellent job.

Additionally, Tony is involved in the local school visits to St Andrew’s where he regularly entertains groups of primary school children with stories from the tower.

It therefore seemed more than fitting that Tony’s 80th birthday was marked with a celebratory drink and presentation in the tower.

The photograph below shows Tony with his wife Joyce receiving his present from bell master Clive Stephenson.

A quarter peal was rung on his actual birthday with details shown below:

Hornchurch, Essex
St Andrew

Sunday, 22 September 2019

1260 Plain Bob Triples

1. John W Stephenson
2. Ros C Skipper
3. John M Church
4. Jaime Hamper
5. James Laken
6. Christopher C M Pain
7. Clive J Stephenson (C)
8. Hayden R Musham

For Evensong and to celebrate the 80th birthday of Tony Ammerlaan on this day.

First in method – 4. 
First on 8 – 8.

Bell Ringers Coach Outing to Bedford

On Saturday 14th September 2019, the sun shone as 50 bell ringers and friends departed for our autumn coach outing to the Bedford area.

At our first stop, Toddington, we joined the local coffee morning before ringing their bells to the tunes of Stedman Triples and Yorkshire Major.

Moving on to Husborne Crawley, the bells were again quite heavy and the high ceiling made them challenging to ring. Courses of Bob Major and Grandsire Triples were successfully achieved.

Our buffet lunch at Bromham Water Mill was gratefully received and non-ringers had extended time to eat and drink whilst the ringers went off to perform at nearby Biddenham. The tower at Biddenham was accessed by climbing an outside staircase over part of the church roof (see photo below.)

At Bedford (St Paul’s) we had the opportunity to ring on a musical set of 12 bells and managed to sound Call Changes on 12 and Plain Hunt on 11. Inside the church, non-ringers visited the Wesley Pulpit where John Wesley preached the Assize Sermon in 1758 on the theme ‘We shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ’

Our final ring at Cardington was on a heavy but musical set of 8 bells and we enjoyed some of our best ringing of the day. This was followed by a carvery dinner and our return to Hornchurch.

Our thanks go to John Church for such a well organised and enjoyable day!

Lunch at Bromham Water Mill

Lunch at Bromham Water Mill


Bell Ringer Award for Hayden on Promotion Sunday

On Promotion Sunday, young bell ringer Hayden Musham received an award for ringing his first quarter peal during the past year.

Hayden learnt to ring at the start of 2017, rang his first quarter peal in 2018 and has now rung a total of 5 quarter peals; 4 at St Andrew’s and one at North Ockendon. A quarter peal involves about 45 minutes of continuous ringing.

The prize received was a ringing record book and a book containing diagrams of the whole range of bell ringing patterns or methods.

The photograph shows Hayden receiving his prize from Ken Wylie together with Clive Stephenson.

Young Bell Ringers Finish 3rd in National Competition

On Saturday July 6th 2019, 24 teams of young bell ringers from all over the country descended on Liverpool to test their bell ringing skills in the annual National Youth Striking Contest.

Local young ringers from Hornchurch and North Ockendon were part of an Essex team of 8 ringers that were drawn to ring at St Francis Xavier, a Roman Catholic church in Everton, Liverpool. The church has 8 bells with a tenor of 16cwt or ¾ ton. (See picture below)

The Essex team consisted of 2 girls and 6 boys with William Beech (North Ockendon) ringing the 4th bell, Ethan Musham (Hornchurch) ringing the 6th and Sam Beech (North Ockendon) ringing the 7th and conducting the changes.

Each team had 15 minutes in the tower; 6 minutes were used to practise (and make adjustments) and then the competition piece of 160 changes followed.

Sam called the bells to swap places with each other (Call Changes) so that the musical combinations of Queens and Whittingtons were achieved, with the bells starting and finishing in rounds. This took about 7-8 minutes.

The accuracy and evenness of the ringing was judged from outside the tower and each team was awarded a score.

The Essex team rang extremely well finishing in an amazing 3rd place out of the 17 teams in the Call Change Category.

Many congratulations to everyone who took part!

Following the competition, each team had the opportunity to ring at churches in and around Liverpool including Penny Lane (8 bells), Pier Head (12 bells; tenor 41cwt or 2 ton) and Liverpool Cathedral (12 bells; tenor 82cwt or 4 ton). The tenor at Liverpool Cathedral is so heavy that 2 people are needed to ring the bell at any one time!

The photo shows Sam and Ethan ringing the 5th and 7th respectively at Liverpool Cathedral.

Sponsored Ringing for The Tom Wilson Memorial Fund Charity

On Tuesday 25th June 2019, the bells at St Andrew’s, Hornchurch were rung in memory of Thomas Wilson to raise money for his charity which supports raising awareness of Organ Donation.

Tom Wilson died, aged 22, from an accident whilst hockey training in 2016. Following the accident, Tom’s internal organs and tissues were transplanted for the benefit of others.

A local lad who attended Coopers’ Company and Coborn School, Tom was the son of Lisa, a new bell ringer recruited for the Ringing Remembers campaign.

Fellow bell ringers decided to dedicate the ringing on 25th June to Tom on what would have been his 26th birthday.

The bells were rung continuously for 2 hours with as many people taking part as possible. The bell ropes were swapped from person to person in the form of a relay so that the bells were kept ringing for the whole time.

Everyone who took part made a contribution to the Tom Wilson Memorial Charity raising a total of £588.52 for the fund.

This is a very impressive amount and our thanks go to everyone who took part, supported and gave money. A special thanks to Jeanette and Doreen for organising the refreshments.

Bell Ringers Spring Outing 2019

Just after 7.30am on Saturday 27th April, a coach full of 57 bell ringers and friends left St Andrew’s for Suffolk.

Our first stop was the market town of Halesworth with it’s antique shops and old-fashioned coffee shops. The bells here were heavy and quite challenging but a nice piece of Superlative Major was rung.

The next stop was Bungay, a redundant church in the middle of town with a magnificent tower that can be seen from miles around. Some successful ringing of Grandsire Triples and Lincolnshire Major was achieved.

Our buffet lunch was well received before our stop at Beccles with it’s detached tower and splendid views over the Waveney Valley. The 10 bells here were the heaviest and most musical of the day. We rang well with Hayden and Jane successfully ringing Plain Hunt on 9.

Our final stop at Lowestoft were an easy-going set of 8 bells rung from the ground floor. Eileen, Angela and Val all rang well with Val ringing the 6th of the 8 to rounds and Hayden ringing the tenor well to Plain Bob Triples.

The day concluded with a well-earned dinner in the local pub and back to Hornchurch, tired but happy after our very enjoyable day out.

Photo 1: Val & Eileen at Halesworth

Photo 2: Bell Ringers at Bungay

Quarter Peal Success for Joseph

On Sunday 27th January 2019, young bell ringer Joseph Hurley rang continuously for 45 minutes to complete his first quarter peal on St Andrew’s bells.

He carefully plain hunted the treble to the tune of Plain Bob Doubles whilst concentrating on the order of the bells which were continually changing.

He was supported by fellow young ringer Hayden Musham who kept a steady beat on the tenor for the whole time.

A full record of the quarter peal is shown below:

Hornchurch, Essex
St Andrew
Sunday, 27 January 2019

1260 Plain Bob Doubles

1. Joseph Hurley
2. John W Stephenson
3. Lionel S Woods
4. Philip H Denton
5. Clive J Stephenson (C)
6. Hayden R Musham

For Evensong and to welcome Timothy Pope, born on 25th January, a son for Charlotte & Nick and a grandson for Ray Rogers of the local band.

First Quarter – 1.
300th Quarter – 4.

The photo shows the ringers that took part: L – R: Joseph, John, Lionel, Philip, Clive & Hayden.

Wedding of Clive Stephenson & Michelle Long

September the 22nd was a momentous day for Hornchurch Ringing when The Master, Clive Stephenson married fellow ringer Michelle Long.

Festivities began on August 27th with a celebratory peal, and a quarter peal was rung prior to the wedding. Immediately before and after the service the bells were rung by different bands, so that everybody got a chance to join in the occasion. Whilst the weather could have been better, throughout the day the timing and organisation were impeccable.

Michelle, looking stunning, arrived and was escorted down the aisle by her mother, Janice, to Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary, and the wedding was conducted by our vicar, Revd. Barry Hobson, while the organ was played by ringer and priest Phil Denton. Clive’s best man was lifelong friend David Saunders.

During the Signing of the Register handbells were rung by the Loughton Handbell Ringers, conducted by Andrew Barham.

Following the service, a hundred plus ringers, family and friends were entertained in the Church Hall and supplied with copious amounts of sandwiches, cakes, savouries and drinks and photographs were taken in the Church Grounds.

Later the Wedding Breakfast was held at The De Rougemont Manor in nearby Great Warley and attended by about seventy people.

A superb meal was served and Clive and The Best Man made well prepared and witty speeches. Clive alluded to his questionable dancing skills, to be demonstrated later, and told of his unique method of proposal, a note encased in Valentine’s Day chocolate, while David in a traditional Best Man’s speech toasted the Bride and Groom with the various groups present: Family, St Edwards School Alumni, Friends, Ringers and Pharmacists.

Later a disco was set up and dancing continued till after midnight while guests mingled, danced, renewed old acquaintances and generally enjoyed themselves.

Altogether, a splendid day!

Clive and Michelle with some of the Hornchurch Bellringers.

Clive and Michelle with Barry Hobson, Vicar.

Local News Article – Armistice 100: Hornchurch bell ringers get ready to honour war dead

Bell ringers from St Andrews church in Hornchurch will be ringing the bells on Remembrance Sunday. Some of them have only just started learning after an appeal to get more people involved. Photo by Ellie Hoskins

When the First World War ended church bells rang out across the land.

“Bells burst forth in joyful chimes”, one newspaper reported a day after November 11, 1918, Armistice Day.

The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers drew up a roll of honour for those who lost their lives in the 1914-1918 conflict.

(To continue reading this article please visit the Romford Recorder website)