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Wymondham Abbey celebrates 50 years of bell-ringing with ringing competition

PUBLISHED: 10:43 31 July 2017

Wymondham Abbey celebrated 50 years since its bells were installed with a bell ringing competition. Picture: Martin Farrimond

Wymondham Abbey celebrated 50 years since its bells were installed with a bell ringing competition. Picture: Martin Farrimond

Martin Farrimond

A special ceremony was held in Wymondham Abbey to celebrate 50 years since its 10 bells were installed.

Wymondham Abbey celebrated 50 years since its bells were installed with a bell ringing competition. Picture: Martin Farrimond Wymondham Abbey celebrated 50 years since its bells were installed with a bell ringing competition. Picture: Martin Farrimond

To mark the occasion, bell ringers from across the Diocese of Norwich came together for a bell-ringing competition on Sunday, July 30.

Five teams representing the different areas of ringing associations - north, east, south, west and Wymondham - were given half an hour to practice their skills and put together a melodic tune.

One team member, Peter Adcock, was a teenager when the bells were installed and had been in the ringing dedication service in 1967.

The teams were judged by two bell ringers from Bedfordshire, who had recently organised the Ringing World National Youth Contest.

Wymondham Abbey
Picture: Nick Butcher Wymondham Abbey Picture: Nick Butcher

A being carefully scrutinised by the judges, the northern branch were declared the winners.

Hayden Charles, the abbey’s ringing master, said the judges praised their neat and tidy rhythm.

“The ringing was good, the judges’ comments were firm and fair and very encouraging.” He added.

“We feel we had a successful day and the weather held off very nicely which is always a bonus.”

A recast bell in 1967 just before it was installed at Wymondham Abbey. Picture: Courtesy of Wymondham Abbey A recast bell in 1967 just before it was installed at Wymondham Abbey. Picture: Courtesy of Wymondham Abbey

The tradition of bell ringing competitions at Wymondham Abbey can be dated as far back as 1731, a time when it was not uncommon for gamblers to bet on the results.

In 1903, the five bells at the abbey that had not been rung for 100 years were augmented to eight. They were later recast and an additional two bells were added in 1967.

Mr Charles said ringing competitions were not unusual with many taking place all over the country.

He said bell ringing as a tradition will stand the test of time.

“Over the years, bells at the abbey played a significant part in the town’s history.” He said.
“Monks would dispute on who rang what and when, but in recent times things are a lot calmer than it was.
“We ring regularly but also ring for national occasions and we have done for quite a long time.

“I think that ringing is actually in quite a healthy state. In places that are more isolated, like rural communities, things are more tricky but in towns and cities ringing is pretty strong.”

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