Donhead St Mary Bell-Ringers - December 2016 Report

The Bell & Crown at Zeals did us proud for our Christmas Dinner, in October, which we had at the end of a day’s ringing and exploring round churches in Purbeck. Unfortunately, quite a few people could not join us due to illness but we still enjoyed the evening with ringers past and present. The social aspect of ringing is extremely important and is one of the things that make it so much fun.

During the day we had been to Spetisbury, where the ringers stand round the font at the back of the church. The bells are heavier than ours, so are a bit more stately. Then it was on to Sturminster Marshall, with even heavier bells, and again at the back of the church in full view. The tower is large so we stand in a wide circle. It is very imposing. Although it was the 22nd of October, the weather was warm and fine enough for us to have a picnic lunch at Kingston with a magnificent views across the fields to Corfe Castle in the sunshine. Kingston Church is known as the Cathedral of Purbeck. It was built in the 19th century by Lord Eldon and designed by George Street, who also did the Law Courts in the Strand and Cuddesdon College. It is an exemplary building, and looks and feels as if it has materialised straight out of a textbook. There are 10 bells here and this extension over our usual 6 is for me very musical. For two in the band it was the first time on this number of bells. We closed the day’s ringing with a visit to Corfe Castle and rang these beautiful bells well. As it is so busy with visitors, parking can be a challenge and the ringing has to be as good as possible.

Christmas Eve Midnight Mass is at St Mary’s so we hope to ring before that and also to keep up the tradition of ringing out the old year at 11.35pm on the muffled bells and ringing in the new just after midnight with the bells open. \We wish you all a happy Christmas and New Year.

Christopher Sykes