Bell ringers go full-circle to mark 50th anniversary

The bellringers mark the golden anniversary.
The bellringers mark the golden anniversary.

A golden anniversary at Knaresborough was recently rung in at St John’s Church.

A group of bellringers have celebrated the first full-circle church peal in 1969 following a lengthy ban.

Full-circle church bell ringing stopped at Knaresborough in 1936 when the vicar (Rev Bernard Kissack) locked out the ringers after they had refused to comply with his new draconian rules.

In 1966, the church warden (and bell ringer) Ron Gudgeon, persuaded the then vicar, Rev Michael Manktelow, to let him get some ropes and restore full-circle ringing, and he recruited a band Including three teenagers, Eric McNally and the Winter “boys”. After ringing some peals in nearby towers the first quarter-peal in the tower of St John’s took place on Tuesday 20 May 1969. 1260 changes of Grandsire Triples. The ringers were: Leo Bean 1; Eric McNally 2; Charles H Maxfield 3 Harry Winter 4; J Reed 5; Ron Gudgeon 6; Fred Addison (c) 7; Derek J Hurst 8. In 2019, Eric, now ringing at Dunbleane Cathedral, thought it would be a good idea to try to ring a fiftieth anniversary quarter, but alas he was the only member of that band still around.

He recruited Harry’s brother Alan to come from Cambridge to be conductor, Derek Hurst’s daughter Ros to return to ringing and for Peter Gudgeon (Bramham) to represent his father. Jane and Andrew Holland who had rung with Ros at Knaresborough during the 1980s travelled down from Cumbria, and Bill (Kirk Deighton) and Derrick represented the current band at Knaresborough.

On Saturday, May 25, a quarter peal of 1344 changes of Grandsire Triples was scored.

The band being: Rosamund Moss 1, Eric McNally 2, Jane Holland 3, Derrick McRobert 4, William Todd 5, Andrew J Holland 6, Alan Winter (c) 7, Peter Gudgeon 8.

A spokesman said: “Another 232nd quarter peals and 23 full peals have been rung on the bells since May 1969 and after the usual photograph the band, and family and friends, repaired to The Mitre for refreshments.”