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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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)

Quarter Peal Success for Young Ringer

On Sunday 15th July, St Andrew’s bell ringer Hayden Musham successfully completed his first quarter peal at the first attempt.

Hayden rang the treble to a method called Plain Bob Doubles, skillfully changing the position of his bell for 1260 changes.

This took about 45 minutes and is a big achievement for a 14 year old who has only been ringing for about 18 months.

Well done!

Full details of the quarter peal are:

Hornchurch, Essex

St Andrew

Sunday, 15 July 2018

1260 Plain Bob Doubles

1. Hayden R Musham
2. John W Stephenson
3. Gavin S Carpenter
4. Christopher C M Pain
5. Clive J Stephenson (C)
6. Anthony F Ammerlaan

For Evening Worship

First Quarter Peal – 1

      The ringers who took part: L – R: Hayden, John, Gavin, Chris, Clive & Tony

September Coach Outing to Reading

The bell ringers’ Autumn coach outing, organised by Adam, Gavin and Leonie, took us to some relatively easy-going bells in the Reading area.

Our first stop was Caversham, a busy town on the outskirts of Reading where the bells allowed a good variety of ringing including Plain Bob, Stedman and Double Norwich. It was good to see Margaret (Waller) back ringing so well after her knee and hip replacements.

A long walk from the coach to St Giles in Reading was followed by a welcome lunch break and then on to the 6 bells of South Stoke where we rang a nice course of Cambridge Minor, with John (Church) keeping us right on the treble.

We then went back to Reading for the biggest challenge of the day on the 12 bells of St Laurance. The bells have a tenor of 23cwt but were easy to ring and most of the ringers managed rounds on 12, many for the first time. We finished with Plain Hunt on 11 with 18 year old Alex Blissett keeping a good steady beat on the tenor.

At Shiplake, our last stop, the bells were the best of the day with everyone enjoying the ringing and, of course, dinner together in the local pub afterwards. Congratulations to our organisers, especially Adam (Carpenter) who worked hard to put the day together.

Ringers outside St Peters, Caversham


Jane, Eileen, John & Terry on their lunch-break


Leonie & Chris at St Laurance, Reading


Meeting old friends at South Stoke

Hornchurch Peal For Royal Wedding

A full peal of Kent Royal lasting exactly 3 hours was rung at St Andrew’s for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday 19th May.

The peal was arranged so that the bells were actually ringing during the service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.

Full details of the peal are:

Hornchurch, Essex
St Andrew

Saturday, 19 May 2018 in 3 hrs

5000 Kent Treble Bob Royal

Composed by Donald F Morrison

1. John A Hall
2. Matthew E Rayner
3. Jillian Laken
4. Jon Waters
5. David E Rothera
6. Anthony J Bloomfield
7. Timothy G M Jones
8. Stephen C Wood
9. Roderic K Bickerton
10. Clive J Stephenson (C)

Rung for and during the wedding of HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Here is a short extract of the peal:

Spring Coach Outing 2018 To The Cotswolds

On Saturday 14th April, a full coach of 56 ringers and friends set off for the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire.

After a cold week in Essex, the sun came out and a two and a half hour drive brought us to our first stop in Chipping Norton. A welcome cup of coffee and some good ringing saw us on our way to our lunch stop in Moreton-in-Marsh.

Young Ringers at Moreton

The afternoon took us to the picturesque Bourton-on-the-Water in the middle of the Cotswolds with its many gift shops and tea shops along the River Windrush in the centre of town.

Ringers at Bourton-on-the-Water

Our final stop at Stow-on-the-Wold presented us with a heavy ring of 8 bells. At 27cwt, the tenor weighs one and a half times as much as Hornchurch but we managed well and enjoyed some of the best ringing of the day topped only by an excellent evening meal before our long drive home.

Remembering Joan Peacock (1926 – 2018)

Joan Peacock learnt to ring at Tring in Hertfordshire. Following the war, her long career in the Personnel Department of May & Baker brought her to Essex where she joined the Hornchurch band in 1946 and made rapid progress under the guidance of then master, Frank Gant.

Her cheerful personality earned her many friends including the Salisbury brothers, Dulcie Wright, Lionel Woods, Chris Pain and John Stephenson who remember her with affection. She was helpful to the learners and rang 9 peals at Hornchurch including a notable performance for The Queen’s Coronation in 1953:

The Essex Association
Hornchurch, St Andrew

On 2nd June 1953 in 3hrs 3mins

5056 Plain Bob Major

Comp: D.W.Beard

1. Mrs Dorothy Wright
2. Joan Peacock 
3. Jimmy Carrott   
4. Donald Salisbury   
5. Colin Wright
6. Sid Penfold
7. Andy Salisbury
8. Frank Gant (c)

Rung for The Queen’s Coronation

100th peal – 8

She remained an active member of the Hornchurch band for more than 50 years and was a life member of The Essex Association. Following her retirement from ringing in the late 1990’s, she remained an active rambler into her mid 80’s and could always be found pouring over the pages of The Ringing World for news of her old friends and colleagues.

She passed away on 18th March 2018, just short of her 92nd birthday. The photograph shows Joan at her 90th birthday party. A quarter peal was rung in thanksgiving for her life at Hornchurch on 8th April and is printed below.

She will be greatly missed.

Hornchurch, Essex
St Andrew     

Sunday, 8 April 2018

1280 Spliced Surprise Major (8m)

(Standard 8)

1. Colin Friend
2. John W Stephenson
3. Louise Booth
4. Peter J Joyce
5. Christopher C M Pain
6. Clive J Stephenson
7. Andrew P Barham
8. Matthew E Rayner (C)

For Evensong and in thanksgiving for the life of Joan Peacock, a regular ringer at this tower for at least 50 years.

Ringing for the 100th Anniversary of the RAF at St Clement Danes

History of the RAF
It is entirely appropriate that the Centenary year of the Royal Air Force (RAF) also falls on the Centenary of the end of the First World War.

Indeed it was the events towards the end of WW1 that led to the creation of the RAF one hundred years ago.

In the summer of 1917, German Gotha bombers appeared over London with relative ease. The Prime Minister appointed Lieutenant General Jan Christian Smuts to investigate and Smuts quickly recommended the amalgamation of the existing Army and Navy air arms to form a separate Air Force with its own staff.

Brought into formal existence on 1st April 1918, the Royal Air Force began life as the world’s first and premier Air Force and it has been at the forefront of military aviation from that day to this.

In its first week, RAF aircraft played a leading role in stemming the German offensive and provided crucial support to the Army and its allies as the Germans were driven back to the Rhine and the war was brought to a triumphant close later that year.

At the start of the war in 1914 the Royal Flying Corps had 84 aircraft and the Royal Navy Air Service had 71 aircraft. By the war’s end in November 1918, the RAF had more than 22,000 aircraft.

Second World War
In July 1940, Adolf Hitler planned an invasion of Britain by ordering his powerful air force (the Luftwaffe) to destroy British ports along the coast.

During the next 3 months of The Battle of Britain, the outnumbered RAF resisted the massive German air invasion, relying on the world’s first air defence system, integrating radar, telecommunications and radio. For every British plane shot down, two Luftwaffe war planes were destroyed and in October 1940, Hitler delayed the German invasion indefinitely.

At the end of the Battle of Britain, Prime Minister Winston Churchill said of the RAF pilots, ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.’

Connection of St Clement Danes to the RAF
St Clement Danes Church in The Strand was almost destroyed by German bombs during the London Blitz on 10th May 1941.

The outer walls, tower and steeple survived the bombing but the interior was gutted by fire and the 10 bells fell to the ground. Subsequently they were put into storage and recast after the war.

Following an appeal for funds from the Royal Air Force, the church was completely restored and re-opened in 1958 to become the Central Church of the Royal Air Force.

Connection to Hornchurch Bell Ringers
With the restoration of the bells in 1958 came the need for visiting bell ringers to ring for Sunday services.

Under the leadership of Frank Gant, Hornchurch started to provide bell ringers for Sunday service ringing once a month, a tradition that has continued from 1958 to this day.

It was therefore fitting that the Hornchurch bell ringers organised the ringing before and after the service on 1st April 2018 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the formation of the RAF.

Coincidently, this was also the 60th Anniversary of the restoration of the church in 1958.

A quarter peal was rung at 10.00am before the service:

Westminster, Greater London

St Clement Danes
Sunday, 1 April 2018
1260 Plain Bob Royal

1. Paul J Bloomfield
2. John W Stephenson
3. Ros C Skipper
4. Simon J O Head
5. Colin Friend
6. Jonathan C Mills
7. James Laken
8. William J Stungo
9. Andrew P Barham
10. Clive J Stephenson (C)

Ringers who rang before the service

Short extract of Quarter Peal

A full Peal was rung at 12.00pm, immediately after the service:

Westminster, Greater London
St Clement Danes

Sunday, 1 April 2018 in 3h 6mins

5021 Grandsire Caters
Composed by A Colin Banton

1. Christopher Ridley
2. Christopher J Cooper
3. Mary Bone
4. Jillian Laken
5. David Holdridge
6. William J Stungo
7. Alan Regin
8. Fred Bone
9. Clive J Stephenson (C)
10. Edward J W Manley

Both rung to Commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Formation of the Royal Air Force.

Also to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the restoration of St Clement Danes Church, funded by the RAF.

Ringers who rang in the peal following the service

Bell Ringers Visit to Purleigh

Undeterred by the snow, a group of St Andrew’s ringers and friends visited Purleigh in Essex on 17th March 2018.

A successful hour’s ringing and enjoyable pub lunch enabled us to catch up with Pauline and Rosemarie who have recently moved away from the Hornchurch area.

From L to R: Jeanette, John, Terry, Rosemarie, David, Pauline, Chris & Michelle

Successful Peal for Paul’s 70th Birthday

Paul Bloomfield celebrated his 70th birthday on 17th February 2018.

A peal to mark the occasion was rung by a visiting band from the Oxford Guild on 10th March. The peal was conducted by an 18 year old.

Full details of the peal are as follows:

Oxford Diocesan Guild
Hornchurch, Essex
St Andrew
Saturday, 10 March 2018 in 3h 06m
5040 Yorkshire Surprise Royal
Composed by Robin O Hall

1. E John Wells
2. June D Wells
3. Daniel J Page
4. David E Rothera
5. Thomas R Sherwood
6. Bernard F L Groves
7. Anna E Sherwood (C)
8. Edward J W Manley
9. Clive J Stephenson
10. Colin G Newman

A slightly belated 70th birthday compliment to Paul J Bloomfield, with whom the tenor ringer spent many a long hour ringing in bygone years. Also well known to some others in the band.

First on 10 and second peal – 5 (aged 14)
First on 10 as conductor having previously called Surprise Maximus

A short extract of the peal is available on You Tube