Bowerchalke in Wiltshire has 5 Bells s a result of the Village raising £42,000 in 1998 to restore and augment the 3 to 5 bells for the millennium. The tenor is an 11cwt medieval bell dated 1400. There was a band at the time but in recent years they have moved away or died so since 2017/18 there have been no ringers there. Increasing pressures on all local towers meant the bells were hardy ever rung. So we decided to do a leaflet drop around the village, hold an open morning and shamelessly recruit ringers.
I am Branch Training Officer and passionate about teaching new ringers, and Jane Rouse is a Millennium ringer who has taken on the correspondent role at Bowerchalke and is brilliant at organising, admin and getting people on board. We are working together, with support from friends. Following the open morning we had 12 people signed up to find out more and 7 came to a taster session. All these 7 have signed up to learn to ring and their first lesson was held on 4th November. Unfortunately we can’t teach at Bowerchalke as the bells are not easily accessible to silence, so we are teaching at Ebbesbourne Wake, a couple of miles up the Chalke Valley. After their second lesson today we moved to Bowerchalke where five of the learners chimed the bells to mark the Armistice. Quite an achievement after two lessons and their smiles tell their story. Sadly they aren’t official Ringing Remembers recruits as we didn’t think they would be ringing fo the Armistice – how wrong we were!