Royal Bells Centenary June 2011
PUBLISHED: 10:40 30 March 2011 | UPDATED: 19:07 20 February 2013
This year, in which a Royal wedding is celebrated, the significance that church bells play in these national events reminds us that the bells in Wimborne Minster were renewed and restored in 1911 in time to ring out for the Coronation in that year
This year, in which a Royal wedding is celebrated, the significance that church bells play in these national events reminds us that the bells in Wimborne Minster were renewed and restored in 1911 in time to ring out for the Coronation in that year.
The condition of the bells and timber frame were a cause for concern by the previous year, so that an advisory committee had been set up to assist the Minster PCC as to what to do. After many months of deliberations, and donors offering to pay to renew and add bells, it was decided to carry out a complete replacement of all the bells and hang them in a metal frame. A penalty clause had been inserted in the contract to ensure that the bells were to be ready by the Coronation on June 22nd 1911. The brand new ring of ten bells replaced the old eight of varying ages. The photograph taken in early 1911, showing a group posing around the oldest and largest of the eight original bells, was taken outside the North porch of the Minster. This bell had been cast in 1629 in Wimborne by Anthony Bond, a travelling bell founder.
Perhaps (some not so young) readers can assist and put names to the group of men and boys in the old photograph? Left to right:-
(?)...(G Lock Snr)(Alfred Osman - Supervisor at the towns gas works)(Assumed to be a Bell Contractors employee)(J Holloway)(?)...(G Lock Jnr)(B Dredge-in official cap)(F Hart)(- Holloway-small boy).
It will be noted that, as a sign of the times and pecking order of the day, that gentlemen in bowler hats stood together on the left and others on the right in the photo!
The new bells were dedicated on 14th June 1911 and since that time have rung out for Minster services, and to mark national and royal events, be they sad or for reasons of celebration and joy. The Minster bell ringers plan to mark the Royal Wedding in April and are busy practicing to ring something special for the occasion.
On the 12th June Wimborne bells will feature on the BBC Radio 4 programme Bells on Sunday broadcast at 05.43 and repeated after midnight at 00.45.and they can be also heard on BBC iPlayer during the whole of that week. An exhibition of original photographs of the old bells, taken just before the 1911 replacement, is being held at the nearby Priest House Museum in the High Street during the whole month of June. It is planned to have a tower open day as part of the Minster Fair on the Saturday of the Folk Festival during the second weekend in June.
Words by Keith Fleming