The bells, the bells…
This description of Waltham’s church bells was written by church bell-ringer, Roy William Rayson. Unfortunately the bells will now be silent until the spire has been made safe.
“Waltham’s church tower houses a fine peal of six bells acquired over the centuries. Standing over 500 feet above sea level, their melodious sound can be heard for over a mile in the surrounding countryside. Long may they give pleasure to us all.”
No. 1: (Treble) Cast in 1879 by John Warner of London. Weight 4cwt 3qtrs 8lbs. A gift to the church by the Rev. Henry Twells.
No. 2: Cast in 1726 by Henry Penn of Peterborough. Weight 5cwt 0qtrs 19lb.
No. 3: Cast in 1744 by Thomas Eayre of Kettering. Weight 6cwt 1 qtr 2lbs. (This bell was found to be cracked in 2004. Funds are currently being raised to repair it by specialist welding.)
No. 4: Cast in 1879 by John Warner of London. Weight 6cwt 1 qtr 2lbs. (It is unusual for two bells to be the same weight.)
No. 5: Cast in 1580 – 1620 by Henry Oldfield of Nottingham. Weight 6cwt 3qtrs 16lbs. (This bell has been swinging away 400 years.)
No. 6: (Tenor) Cast in 1744 by Thoas Eatye of Kettering. Weight 10cwt 0qtrs 18lbs. (This bell strikes the hour on the church clock.)
During the Great War, the bells rang out merrily when any of the village men came home on leave from the front. In more recent time the memorial service for Air Vice-Marshall ‘Johnnie’ Johnson was accompanied with a fine ring.
Royal and national events and weddings are celebrated with the bells. The new year is ‘rung in’ muffled before midnight and full peal on the stroke of the midnight hour.
The ancient art of campanology is a wonderful and enjoyable hobby and we welcome all to join us.