Following government advice relating to the COVID19 virus, and in common with many other towers, all ringing activity at Ab Kettleby is suspended for the foreseeable future. This will be kept under review as the situation changes.
- Derek Butterworth
- Peter England
- Lynda Lazzerini
- David Lazzerini
- Colin Lord
- Martyn Marriott (C)
The ringers of St James, Ab Kettleby will be taking part in the Armistice Centenary with half-muffled ringing. This will be the first time our six bells will have been rung with half-muffles, as we will be unveiling our brand new set of bell muffles, tailor made for our bells.
The first ringing will be from around 10:30 prior to an Act of Remembrance service which will start at 10:45. The ringers will return at 12:30 to ring as the nation remembers, and coinciding with 10,000 members of the public who will form a procession past the Cenotaph in central London, to pay tribute to those that served during the First World War.
History was made in Ab Kettleby this afternoon, when six bells rang out in celebration of Iva and Ben’s wedding.
It’s the first time our peal of six bells have performed the task – our last wedding was in November 2014, prior to augmentation, with just the original three.
Today’s band comprised entirely of ringers from Ab Kettleby, who (apart from the tower captain) have all been taught to ring in the last 3 years.
Just before 1pm, the first few notes of the Wedding March sounded, the adrenaline and excitement rose… “Look To… Treble’s Going… Treble’s Gone!” and we were off! The rounds were excellent from the start (we had been practising!!) and it sounded amazing alongside the organ in the church.
Congratulations Iva and Ben – we all wish you a lifetime of happiness together, and we’re very proud to have been able to help you celebrate today.
Well, what a year 2016 has been for our tower! It started with the completion of the augmentation project in January. What a thrill it was to hear all six bells ringing, after all the hard work through 2015 in creating the bells, and the extra work needed to install them in the tower. The new tenor altered the key of the bells, and the re-tuning of the third and fourth bell of the peal meant that the whole set of bells sounded like they were meant to be!
Quarter Peal Attempts
We attempted to ring a Quarter Peal to celebrate the successful completion of the augmentation project at the end of January, but alas a technical problem (the rope on the treble jumped off the bell wheel) meant this was lost around half way through the ringing.
However, the Quarter Peal was to be rearranged for summer and coincided with a weekend of events celebrating the restoration of St James’, the official 90th birthday celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II, and a dedication service for the new bells. On June 12th, we successfully rang eight touches of Plain Bob Doubles for the the first ever quarter peal at Ab Kettleby, in around 45 minutes.
The dedication service for the bells took place on 13th June 2016, and was led by Rev Dr Peter Hooper. We also welcomed back Ab Kettleby’s former priest, Rev Sue Paterson, who had given her blessing to the casting of the bells in early 2015. There was ringing before and after the well attended service, and a link video link from the bell chamber was projected onto a screen for the congregation to view each of the bells as they were introduced throughout the service.
Alan Jacques Award
Last year, our tower captain, James, was nominated for Leicester Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers’ Alan Jacques award, in recognition of the work carried out in running the augmentation project, and recruiting and training a brand new band of ringers at Ab Kettleby.
E. Alan Jacques (1932 – 2011 aka “The Boss”) was a very talented person. His unique character enabled him to achieve high standards and be a very proficient ringer whilst still being able to be approachable and an encouraging member of the community often helping learners and less experienced ringers to progress. After celebrating his life, a donation of £1000 was made to the Guild. This was from collections and family donation After discussions with his family and the Recruitment & Education (R&E) Committee, this award has been established.
The Award will be given each year to an individual whose presence in his or her tower has proved beneficial to the rest of the band in whatever capacity. This may be a newcomer, but not necessarily a young person. It may not be the best ringer, but someone who has consistency and determination. It is a person who as Alan Jacques would say, “does their best and enjoys the ringing”. Alan Jacques was a role model for the new ringer and encouraged all ringers to come and enjoy the ringing community. ‘You’ll always be welcome in any group of ringers” he would say, and this was an important part of supporting the ringing community.
James wasn’t successful in 2015, but the nomination was carried over to 2016, and at the LDGCBR AGM in October, much to James’ surprise, he was presented with the Alan Jacques Award. James comments “I am truly honoured to have been presented with this award, however credit must be due to the whole team at Ab Kettleby. The commitment and enthusiasm from the team of ringers we have trained in just over two years has been the key to our success! As a result, we continue to grow in numbers and knowledge!”
Ringing, Ringers and Ringing Course
We’ve come a long way from the early days of novice ringers learning to handle the three original bells, back in June 2014. We now have a core band of six Ab Kettleby taught ringers who are present at most practice sessions and service ringing. Captain James receives invaluable help from two experienced local ringers on practice nights, so there is plenty of opportunity to learn and progress. It’s notable that we usually have more than enough ringers on the Wednesday practice nights to have all six bells ringing. We also have a wider base of not quite so regular ringers – who for whatever reason struggle to join practice nights now, but we are always pleased to see them! In total, fourteen ringers have so far been taught or are in the process of being taught to ring at Ab Kettleby! A truly remarkable number, given the relatively small size of the village and wider issues surrounding recruitment and retention of church bell ringers.
Three of the team attended The Leicester Diocesan Guild Ringing Course in September. They all enjoyed the ringing, and have made significant progress following a dedicated weekend of ringing with a far more experienced band and excellent tutors. Two are now able to ring inside bells on plain courses of Plain Bob Doubles; skills we look to consolidate at every opportunity!
The bells of Ab Kettleby have a unique place in the bell-ringing community – namely we are the first tower (alphabetically!) to be listed in Dove’s Guide for Church Bell Ringers. The addition of the three new bells has made our tower a very attractive place for ringers to visit since the augmentation completed. We’ve had half a dozen different visiting bands arrange ringing throughout the year, along with hosting the LDGCBR Melton District monthly meeting in April and local group Society of Framland Ringers in August. Our visitor book is rapidly filling up, as we also have a steady of stream of visiting ringers join occasional practice nights and services.
We have been delighted to welcome BBC Radio Leicester and Melton local station 103 The Eye into the tower to report on our progress and activities throughout the year. Ben Jackson from BBC Radio Leicester popped out to see us in January, as a following up to his original visit back in October 2014. The new bells were in place – very different from the rusty three he visited a year earlier!
We were invited to join 103 The Eye at the end of January, and spent the best part of an hour on-air talking about the augmentation project, the new and old bells, and more generally about ringing. 103 The Eye followed up in June by visiting the church during our quarter peal.
So what does 2017 hold in store for us at Ab Kettleby?
Technically, there are some jobs that still need to be finished off following the augmentation:
- In the Spring, we will look to replace three old bell ropes on the original bells with some brand new replacements. We’ve held off from doing this so far, as the introduction of all new un-stretched slightly springy ropes would likely to have been a bit of a handful for our lesser experienced ringers.
- There is still a small amount of frame painting to finish off which we simply haven’t got around to during 2016. We’ll give the bell chamber a clean up at the same time and then plan to update our photography stock on the website.
Ringing wise, we continue to teach handling, and progress towards change ringing methods. Hopefully more of the team will attend the Ringing Course in 2017!
In March 2017, we will be ringing for our first wedding since the augmentation was completed; an occasion we’re all looking forward to! Our band of ringers will continue to support neighbouring tower Asfordby when they’re short of ringers for their numerous weddings throughout the year!
Happy New Year!
We did it! After a failed attempt in January, yesterday, the ringers successfully completed the very first Quarter Peal in Ab Kettleby!
The quarter peal kicked off a weekend of celebrations for St James’ church, marking the reopening of the church after the recent restoration, the completion of the augmentation project, and Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday. Saturday saw family picnics in the churchyard and various activities for the younger villagers. Visitors could also try their hand at ringing a church bell once the quarter had finished.
And today, we formally welcome the bells into the church with a dedication service.
Details of the quarter peal are on Bellboard
- John Adcock
- Mary Barrass
- George Dawson
- Peter Hayward
- Peter Brown
- James Lowe
Watch the whole quarter peal here:
This weekend, St. James’ Church, Ab Kettleby, is hosting two special events.
On Saturday 11th June, to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday, the day will start with a quarter-peal attempt at 10:45am after which there will be a Family Picnic in the churchyard (bring your own picnic and chairs). Lots of activities are planned, with games, races, treasure hunt and an opportunity for adults and older children to ring the bells.
On Sunday 12th June at 2:30pm, the Rev. Dr. Peter Hooper will dedicate our three new bells and thank our benefactors. This will be followed by light refreshments.
Over the weekend there will be both a live ‘webcam’ relay of the bells in the belfry and pictorial displays of the augmentation from casting to installation.
We welcomed a group of visiting ringers to St James’ yesterday lunchtime, who rang an excellent touch of Cambridge Surprise Minor. The visitors also included representatives of the Keltek Trust (who arranged for the donation of the tenor) who also visited in January 2014.
The video camera was again in action on Saturday, and they have put a comparison video together of the old three vs the new six:
We were invited to talk about our bells, the augmentation and ringing in general on local community radio station, 103 The Eye, this morning. If you’ve got 25 minutes to spare, grab a cuppa and have a listen.
Now that the new bells are up and ringing in Ab Kettleby, we can now reveal the details and inscriptions which have been adorned on them.
The treble bell, cast on 6th February 2015 in Loughborough weighs 3-3-7. The bell is donated by John Adcock in memory of Hazel, an experienced and popular ringer at neighbouring Long Clawson, who died on 5th May 2014:
IN MEMORIAM VITAE
HAZEL J. ADCOCK
The second, also cast on 6th February 2015 in Loughborough weighs 4-1-0. The bell is donated by H. Mary Barrass of Shepshed:
THE GIFT OF H MARY BARRASS
EK TOΥ AΛΦA EIΣ TO ΩMEΓA
CAST BY THE DONOR 2015
(Part of this inscription is Greek, which means: "From First to Last" and signifies Ab Kettleby's position at the very top of bell towers listed in "Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers")
Mary, who is part of the team at the John Taylor & Co bell foundry, was responsible for pouring the metal into the bell casts for both of the new bells.
The tenor bell, weighing 8-2-22, was cast on 1st February 1929 in Loughborough for Gorran, Cornwall. Gorran were in receipt of a relocated full peal of eight bells in 2014, so this bell has been given a new lease of life at Ab Kettleby and is donated in memory of Rev Nick Green:
RECAST AND 1½CWT ADDED
J.U YONGE * VICAR
J.W. DREW }
WM. KENDALL } CH. WARDENS
W.W. RICHARDS. CAPTAIN
GOD SAVE THE QUEEN
1837 - 1897
E.R. SOWELL B.A VICAR
WILLIAM KENDALL JR }
WILLIAM WEST } CH. WARDENS