St Leonard’s bells celebrate the Diamond Jubilee

Last month’s magazine gave details of a forthcoming attempt, by members of the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths, to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee with a special peal on the heavy bells of Semley.  I am pleased to report that their attempt was successful, and Semley bells sounded a full peal of 5040 rows (each bell striking once in turn) in 3 hours and 11 minutes after the morning’s church service on Sunday 12th August. 

The ringers were greatly encouraged by the large number of people who entered the church during the attempt to witness the performance.  They were also surprised to discover, on completing the peal, a parcel addressed to the bell-ringers placed on a table by the church door.  The parcel contained delicious pastries donated by Semley Village Stores.  These proved excellent in replenishing the ringers’ energy levels and were combined with liquid refreshment provided by Stuart and Shirley Asbury.  Thank you to all who supported the ringers.

Two special bell-ringing methods were incorporated within the performance in honour of the diamond jubilee.  These two methods are named ‘Queen Elizabeth II Surprise Minor’ and ‘Royal Surprise Minor’.  It is hoped that details of the performance will be recorded on a hand-painted wooden board to be hung in the church tower, as is traditional for marking important occasions when bells have been rung.  Many such peal-boards can be seen in churches across the country, some over two hundred years old.  The Semley board would bear the royal crest, and that of the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths, and would record the following details:

Society of Royal Cumberland Youths (founded 1747)

Semley, St Leonard

On Sunday 12th August 2012, a Peal of 5040 changes of SURPRISE MINOR

(Seven methods, one extent each: Queen Elizabeth II, Royal, Norfolk, Carlisle, London, York and Cambridge)

in 3 hours and 11 minutes; Tenor 26cwt.

Jessie H. Hetherington                Treble

Mark B. Place                                 2

Peter W. J. Sheppard                   3

David A. Warwick                           4

Matthew D. Hetherington             5

Jonathan C. Hetherington           Tenor

Conducted by J. C. Hetherington

Rung to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The Rev. Stephen J. Morgan - Rector                        The Lady Meston

                                                                                          Mr Gerald Howard – Churchwardens

The details of the performance will also be communicated to Buckingham Palace, and recorded in the peal books of the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths.

Jonathan Hetherington

Society of Royal Cumberland Youths