Recommissioning of the bells
Following the death of Her Majesty the Queen, many church bells have been ringing out across the nation to announce the death, also to acknowledge the accession, and will ring before the funeral on Monday 19th September. However, the sound of bells has not been heard across Royston since December 2018 when a serious fire in the church tower led to the cracking of all eight bells. These bells have subsequently been recast and rehung in the church but until this week had not yet been recommissioned – and so we thought that we would not be able to participate in this historic event. However, the recommissioning and testing of the bells has now taken place this Thursday (15th September) – you can hear the results in the attached downloadable file. We now plan that our church bells will be able to ring prior to the funeral on Monday.
Tower Captain, Alan Curtis said (before the bell commissioning): If all goes to plan, the bells will be commissioned this Thursday morning. For this to be achieved, the bells and tower structure go through rigorous testing to ensure they are functioning correctly and safely. If the bells get the all-clear, the first official ringing will be on Monday 19thSeptember for the hour leading up to the funeral service of HM Queen Elizabeth II. Not only would this be the first ring of the newly cast bells by the local band, it would also be the first time in 70 years since the death of Her Majesty’s father that the bells would be rung ‘fully muffled’, with just the tenor backstroke left open to create a toll. This is a privilege reserved for the death of the Monarch, the Bishop of the Diocese, or the incumbent Vicar. ‘Half-muffled’ bells are more usual and can be heard ringing for solemn occasions such as Remembrance Day or funerals.Muffles are leather pads fitted to a bell’s clapper to reduce the volume and create a dampened sound. By only muffling the clapper on one side – ‘half muffled’ – you get an echo effect as blows are alternately loud and soft. Two muffles can be fitted, one on each side of the clapper, to ‘fully muffle’ the bell. Please listen out. It will be a poignant example of the part that the bells play in British tradition.
Sadly, the church itself will not be open on Monday as the repairs are not yet complete but there is a Book of Condolence in Jeremy Rule Funeral Directors. We hope to return to our beautiful house of prayer during November, after which time the sound of the bells will once again be heard regularly across Royston.
For more information about our re-opening plans, see https://www.achurchnearyou.com/church/7847/news/79668/festival-of-re-opening-save-the-dates/
Recasting of the bells
The bells have been re-cast for the church by Taylors of Loughborough ready to be hung when the tower is ready.
You can hear a sample of the sound of the bells below