Donhead St Mary Bell Ringers - June 2015 Report

There are several national celebrations and commemorations in the next two months, for which bell ringers "up and down the country" are being asked to ring. Recently there have been the Royal birth; and VE Day, where we have the connection of the army vehicles being kept on the Rossiters' farm fields before D-Day. I do not know of any direct connection in either of these two parishes to the Magna Carta, Waterloo or Agincourt, but I would be delighted to be told if anyone knows of one. This is in contrast to the Trafalgar bicentennial, when the Donhead St Andrew bells rang in memory of Captain John Cooke of Donhead Lodge, who was one of two captains to be killed. He was Captain of the Bellerophon, on which Napoleon later surrendered.

I have recently watched a YouTube video called 'The Craft of Bellringing'. It is about 45 minutes long and is an interesting documentary about this fascinating art. If you have a computer, I do recommend it. It is aimed at people who know nothing about bells or ringing, and shows ringers, not only in village churches, but also at Exeter and Liverpool cathedrals. It explains the history of how the English style of ringing evolved from the mediaeval Roman Catholic church service bells. Those of you who have read my earlier articles in the Digests of Dec '96, June '99, Dec 2001 or April '01, and June 2006 will recognise much of what is said. If anyone is interested to see what ringing is about, there are a lot of videos on the internet. Some are of personal experiences, so not so interesting; a bit like looking at someone's holiday snaps!

Christopher Sykes
www.donhead.sdgr.org.uk