City of London
15th October 2011
St Mary-le-Bow
(12) 41-3-21 in C · Cheapside EC2V 6AU
St Katherine Cree
(6) 9-3-18 in G · Leadenhall Street EC3A 3DH
The Crosse Keys
Gracechurch Street EC3V 0DR
St Botolph without
(8) 25-0-7 in Db · Aldgate EC3N 1AB
St Botolph
(8) 17-1-6 in D · Bishopsgate EC2M 3TL
Christ Church
(8) 17-1-10 in E · Spitalfields E1 6QE
St Matthew
(8) 13-3-23 in E · Bethnal Green E2 6DT
Itinerant ringers begin to assemble before St Mary
Simon Edwards remains oblivious
Margaret Marsh writes The call of London and the chance to ring in churches steeped in hundreds of years of history. How lucky we are! What a successful outing on a perfect day of pure autumn sunshine and a crisp blue cloudless sky. Twenty nine of us hit London for a day of adventure. Thanks to Leon Thompson, an ex-Oxford ringer and now a London resident, the day had been organized perfectly. Those who caught the train from Oxford were also treated to the arrival of the former GWR Castle-class steam locomotive number 5043, the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe.
The Earl of Mount Edgcumbe
St Mary-le-Bow
The tenor to the right
First we dropped into St Mary-le-Bow on Cheapside. Founded in or around 1080 as the London headquarters of the Archbishops of Canterbury, the medieval church of St Mary-le-Bow survived three devastating collapses before being completely destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. Rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren, it was destroyed once more in 1941, but was again rebuilt with all new bells, cast in 1956, and re-consecrated in 1964. We recalled the story of Bow Bells - that to call yourself a Cockney you have to be born within the radius of their sound. These big bells boom out for about three miles over London. But for our visit the bells were shuttered in for "sound control", thus affecting the demographics of Cockneys. The bells at St Mary-le-Bow have a reputation for being difficult to handle. For inexperienced ringers the bells are tricky because of the way they are arranged. Ringers need to get used to the long draft of 35 feet (10.5 metres) as well as to their weight. The tenor, no 12 bell, weighs 41 cwt (2 ton) and has a diameter of 61.25 inches. This is the heaviest of our itinerary and the third heaviest full-circle ringable bell in the Metropolis behind the cathedrals of St Paul (61 cwt) and Southwark (48 cwt). The oldest peal board on display was dated 1730 - "a complete peal of Plain Bob Triples in 3 hours and 40 minutes". We climbed the narrow circular stair to the beautiful ringing chamber with light entering through large openings from two sides. Jonathan said to the band "These bells are very big and very heavy. Give them respect and they will turn out all right". The ambitious experienced ringers were eager to grab the big bells. We were bemused watching these strong ringers ring up the tenor, trying to stand it and later to ringing it down. Quite an extrovert performance was given by Leon. Rounds several times for less experienced members and the beautiful deep sounds rang out. Then rounds and call changes and various methods were rung. The big achievement in this tower was the ringing of Stedman Cinques by the more experienced ringers with the great Tenor behind. As it is difficult to get a booking at this church, this was a satisfying visit. This is what the ringers had to say: Sarah Taylor, who lives in London, said "you rang well for a visiting team with less experienced ringers; these bells can be tricky"; Andrew Freer, who began ringing as an adolescent, said the achievement in this tower was the ringing by the more experienced ringers of Stedman Cinques with the great Tenor behind.
St Katherine Cree
A clock within the church
Leadenhall Market
Again walking the London streets we next came to St Katherine Cree in Leadenhall St, which is the only church in London with a ground floor ringing chamber. Today the church is a Guild Church but has no parish; it has chosen to dedicate its ministry to the world of finance, commerce and industry, which it seems in today's world need a lot of ministering! The parish existed as early as 1108, when it was served by the Augustinian Holy Trinity Priory, Aldgate. It was founded by Maud, Queen at the time of King Henry I. In 1280, St Katharine Cree was founded as a separate church for the use of the parishioners. The present church dates from 1631, but the tower dating to 1504 was retained from the previous building. The church escaped the Great Fire of London in 1666 and suffered only minor damage in the London Blitz of the Second World War. However, structural problems required extensive restoration in 1962. St Katharine Cree is one of the most significant churches of the Jacobean period, and the only one to have survived in London. Its architect is unknown. The nave has tall Corinthian columns. The chancel has a fine rose window, modelled, it is said, on the much larger rose window of Old St Paul's Cathedral (lost in the Great Fire). Depicting a Catherine wheel, the stained glass is original dating from 1630, and the font likewise dates from around 1640. The church's six bells were rung in the summer of 2007 for the first time since 1880 (and in November 2007 an appeal was launched to raise £60,000 to restore the bells to full ringing order). These bells were hung as an anti-clockwise ring before the recent restoration in 2009 and are now a clockwise ring. In comparison to our visit to St Mary-le-Bow, the tenor at St Katherine Cree, cast in 1846, is a lightweight at 9cwt and has a diameter of 39 inches but the rope draft is similarly 30 feet (9 m). The other five bells were cast in 1754 thus are the oldest on the itinerary. Ringers found the newly restored bells good to ring. Good reporting on my part got these responses. "Really nice bells" said Andy and "I like them" said Sarah. Roy told me "they were very good to ring".
The Crosse Keys
Lovely beer
A supremely excellent pint of St Austell's Black Prince was drunk by many at The Crosse Keys and then we were on our way again after lunch. We continued down Leadenhall Street to find more towers to ring the changes on this beautiful autumn day. Our next two churches had in common their patron saint, St Botolph, and their degree of difficulty. St Botolph was a 7th century Saxon noble and one of the most revered East Anglian saints. He died 680AD. His remains were taken from place to place in the Bishopgate area and thus he is known as the patron saint of wayfarers and travelers.
St Botolph without Aldgate
Damaris rings the tenor
St Botolph without Aldgate. Written records show a church on the site in 1115 in the priory founded by Matilta of England, but its foundations possibly predate 1066. The church was rebuilt in the 16th century and again in 1741-4. It was severely bombed in the WW2 Blitz, restored, then damaged again by fire in 1965. The church was 'rehallowed' by the bishop of London in 1966 when the Queen, the Queen Mother and the Lord Mayor attended. In the late Victorian period the church was referred to as 'The Church of Prostitutes' and it is not far from the sites of the 'canonical five' murders committed in the autumn of 1888 by 'Jack the Ripper'. The church has a monumental interior and a beautiful octagonal bell ringing chamber with the lower level of the wall painted a lovely quiet orange. An interesting peal board in this church reads Stedman Triples May 1995, 'the composition containing 705 calls and the first to be composed using ordinary bobs only is rung for the first time in 2 hours and 58 minutes'. All the peal boards were for Triples, indicating that a 'difficult' tenor was covering behind. The eight bells range in weight from 6cwt to 25 cwt. The tenor has a diameter of 54 inches and was cast in 1764. These bells are tuned to old concert pitch. Ringers found the bells difficult and Jonathan was pushed to say to the band "It seems these bells are not that easy. Could we concentrate and try to get it right? They are hard work" and then "That's not too bad". As is common with taller bell towers, quite a lot of movement could be felt while ringing.
St Botolph Bishopsgate
Eight ringers ringing in ...
... the ringing chamber
St Botolph, Bishopsgate. Christian worship has probably been offered on this site since Roman times. The original Saxon church, the foundations of which were discovered when the present church was erected, is first mentioned as 'Sancti Botolfi Extra Bishopesgate' in 1212. Although the church survived the Great Fire of 1666, St Botolph's had by the early eighteenth century fallen into disrepair and the decision was made to build anew. The old church was demolished in 1725, and the present church, the fourth on this site, was completed in 1729. It is aisled and galleried in the classic style, and is unique among the City churches in having its tower at the east end, with the chancel underneath. The font, pulpit and organ all date from the eighteenth century. We learned also that John Keats was baptized here in 1795. We also learned that the church was damaged by a Provisional IRA bomb in 1993. This damage may be responsible for the strong movement in the tower; we could see the gap between the tower and the church widening and narrowing as the front six bells were rung. The eight were cast in 1782 and range in weight from 5 to 17cwt. Steve said "You have to keep them under tight control and keep weight on them. They do sound rather nice from outside".
Christ Church Spitalfields
Next we moved onto the refurbished bells at Christ Church, Spitalfields. We walked a long way to this church and the character of the terrain changed from the sophisticated City financial areas to more suburban marketplace areas. Christ Church was built under the Act of Parliament of 1711. This Act required the building of fifty new churches (only 12 were built) to serve the new populations on the fringes of London. This was the first of the series of six that Nicholas Hawksmoor designed. However it was damaged by fire in 1836 and the original peal of 12 bells were destroyed. Another peal of 8 was cast. Then in 1970, a peal was bought from the demolished St Stephens Church, Clapham Park using funds from the sale of the 1836 derelict peal. In 1971 they were refurbished with a new frame. This present peal ranges in weight from 5 to 17cwt. They are now very beautiful as the ringers unanimous positive comments were "wow", "beautiful to ring", "a deep rich tenor", "a great sound", "absolutely lovely", "splendid" and "not at all difficult".
Brick Lane
St Matthew
Finally, at the end of the day, we took a very interesting long walk to St Matthew, Bethnal Green. We passed through the mainly ethnic Bangladeshi street markets of Whitechapel and Brick Lane. As early as 1690 a church was planned for Bethnal Green with Nicholas Hawksmoor, a pupil of Sir Christopher Wren, designing a large basilica type church. This did not go ahead due to opposition to its cost. A smaller and more reasonably priced church was designed by George Dance and finally completed in 1745. Fire destroyed the interior, including the original ring of 8 in 1859, but the bells were re-cast by George Mears of Whitechapel in 1861. Then, in 1940, bombing destroyed and damaged most of the church leaving a roofless shell, though the tower and its bells remained intact. The interior of church was rebuilt and it was re-consecrated in 1961. It is a large and open modern space, to me the least agreeable of churches we have visited, though others were in great favour of its style. In contrast to the openness of the church, the tower was small and cramped. The access stair was tucked away through a very low opening and was steep, narrow and difficult to climb indicating these and the tower were original. Here took place the funerals of both of the Kray twins, who were local parishioners and notorious for organized crime. This district has many social problems but is becoming a thriving, busy and exciting area of ethnic markets, food stalls, bright coloured fabrics and saris as well as a burgeoning trendy tourist spot. By now the ringers were tired but a successful performance of Eight Spliced Surprise Major was rung. This is standard for accomplished ringers but they all seemed very pleased. In this tower hangs a peal board, dated Monday 27th April 1868, commemorating the longest peal ever rung until then. The details on this board were used by Dorothy L Sayers in her story The Nine Tailors, where Lord Peter Wimsey and the band at Fenchurch St Paul ring 15,840 changes of Kent Treble Bob Major on a snowy New Year's Eve. Thus they equalled this particular performance by the Ancient Society of College Youths. The Dorothy L Sayers Society recently made a donation towards the restoration fund for the bells and ringing chamber here. The tower itself was also refurbished at the same time.
St Matthew's tower
now refurbished
The peal board
dated 1868

By now it was the end of the day but the ringers still had comments to make; "I'm hungry", "I have to hurry off", "how about a beer". We broke into groups. Some went for a curry, others to a Bethnal Green pub for a beer, others to engagements elsewhere in London.

Thanks to all who organized such an impressive itinerary. Leon was so pleased with the outing that he said he would like to organize another one next year. He did all of the work in arranging the itinerary and also he produced a document with maps and directions which ensured that all went smoothly and that none of the band got lost. Thanks also to Andy Dunn for his work in organizing most of the ringers and for Leon Thompson, Katie Lane and Roy Jones who got in other ringers from London and beyond. It worked out well in that we had exactly the right number of ringers, with the right mix of abilities, and so no embarrassment was caused. It was a most enjoyable outing, especially because of St Mary-le-Bow, which attracted the better ringers to come along. We were sorry not to have Hugh Deam with us due to his work commitments. Overall we walked three miles or more, climbed many stairs and rang successfully in six of London's historical churches. It was a beautiful day of new ringing locations and of camaraderie in one of the greatest cities in the world. Margaret Marsh
North Oxfordshire
21st August 2011
Tadmarton
St Nicholas 6 11-0-15 in G#
Tadmarton
The Lampet Arms
Hanwell
St Peter 6 7-0-8 in A
Hugh Deam, Anthony Hughes, Susan King, Paul Lucas, Bernard Masterman, Andrew Dunn, Roy Jones, Judith Kirby, Margaret Marsh, Donna Murphy and Charles Smith.
Tadmarton
Tadmarton Noted as Tademaertun in 956AD, the name of the village describes a farmstead by a pool frequented by toads and is around a mile in length. This area was a Royal estate of Saxon king Edwy, with the highest point being 641ft above sea-level. The heath-land here plays host to a long established golf course which incorporates the "Holy Well" and its spring-fed pool that is used to water the greens. The pre-historic way across the heath was later used by Welsh drovers up until the 19th century. For some 500 years from the 10th century onwards the estate was in the possession of Abingdon Abbey, with a subsequent local landowner being Capt. W.L. Lampet who built a large mansion name "The Highlands", and whose family name is recorded in the name of the pub here,
St Nicholas · Tadmarton
The Lampet Arms
The Lampet Arms. That the pub has the look and feel of a railway pub is due to its conception being at a time when is was envisioned that the rail network would open a line through the village. The elegant Norman church was extensively remodelled during the 14th century when the tower was constructed. The bells were retuned, rehung and re-dedicated in 2000 and are a thoroughly satisfying ring of six, with the 3, 5 and tenor all dating to the 17th century. Hanwell Documented in the Domesday Book as Hanewege (way of a man named Hana) by 1236 the name of the settlement had been amended slightly to denote the stream here. A Roman villa is known to have existed on a site just to the west of the village. Hanwell Castle which once stood here was not actually a castle in the true sense but an ornamentally battlemented Tudor residence, constructed in 1498 at the behest of Sir William Cope, cofferer to Henry VII.
St Peter · Hanwell
The Hanwell clock mechanism
The dwelling consisted of four buildings with towers set at the corners, only one of which still stands after the demolition of the house in 1770, and its subsequent rebuilding as a farmhouse that incorporated the tower into the new work. The medieval parish church is situated relatively adjacent to the tower with a massive churchyard on the other side. Oliver Cromwell's forces are reputed to have stabled their horses in the church at various times during the Civil War. The church clock has no face with its works of 1671 being situated behind a barred-off recess in the east wall. This unusual design, still with its original crown wheel and verge escapement mechanism, was conceived by Sir Anthony Cope and was renovated in 2005. The horizontal crown wheel is coloured gold and can be seen in the picture immediately above the frame. A video of this clock running can be found here. The bells here are rung from the ground floor and are a testing, but also rewarding six that were augmented from a five in 2009.
Mapledurham picnic
16th July 2011
Mapledurham
St Margaret 6 7-3-3 in Ab
Charles Smith, Alison Merryweather-Clarke, Bernard Masterman, Paul Lucas, Katie Lane, Judith Kirby, Roy Jones, Anthony Hughes, Hugh Deam and Heather Banyard.
The visiting ringers
The church clock
This Oxfordshire village derives its name from a homestead where maple trees grow, being noted back in 1086 as Mapeldreham. Somewhat contradictory to its origins, the main road into Mapledurham passes through a mile of beech woods, but this is the village the majority of motorists will be aware of, this being the A4074 road as they head into the suburbanised northern fringe of Reading. In reality, Mapeldurham is defined by the church, Elizabethan manor house and watermill, all grouped together on the northern bank of the burgeoning River Thames some distance to the west. This scenic and historic estate land of Mapledurham is undoubtedly isolated, requiring a mile long drive down a narrow lane from Trench Green passing through farmland or a pleasure-boat crossing from Caversham Promanade at weekends. A rent-a-bike service to the location now operates, and on this day when we visited there were was a multitude of British and overseas tourists milling around, several of whom were intrigued by our ringing and consequently took a barrage of photographs of us in action. Mapledurham House contains a wealth of fine paintings, family portraits, bold oak staircases, and moulded Elizabethan ceilings.
St Margaret · Mapledurham
Mapledurham Mill is situated on the other side of the churchyard and is the only working wooden machinery watermill remaining along the course of the river, milling flour, bran and semolina. Sufficient funds for its restoration in 1977 came about after its use, along with the church and house, as the central location for the 1976 movie "The Eagle Has Landed", based on Jack Higgins blockbuster novel. Toad Hall in Kenneth Grahame's classic children's book "The Wind in the Willows" was patterned after Mapledurham Mill. The church, situated between house and mill, is Norman in origin, but has been significantly added to over the intervening years, especially during the 14th and 15th centuries. There was a restoration by the Gothic Revival architect William Butterfield in 1867. The interior contains immaculately tended memorials to significant local military figures. The bells are rung from the ground floor in a room that doubles as a kitchen, and are well worth visiting for a ring.
Dorset & Wiltshire
18th June 2011
Silton
St Nicholas 6 9-0-10 in F#
Fifehead Magdalen
St Mary 3 8½cwt in A#
Ludwell
The Grove Arms
Gillingham
St Mary 8 24-1-12 in Db
Donhead
St Mary 6 9-1-10 in G
East Knoyle
St Mary 6 12-0-8 in F
Christian Burrell, Roy Jones, Peter Lloyd, Serge Zvegintzov, Hugh Deam, Susan King,
Paul Lucas, Sally Harrison, Judith Kirby and Margaret Marsh.
Silton
Silton Taking its name from a farmstead by a shelf or ledge, the village is situated by the headwaters of the River Stour in the Blackmore Vale. The church is located nearly a mile from such housing as there is, the village being relatively inaccessible in centuries past. Silton was for many years the country residence of Sir Hugh Wyndham, the interior of the church containing one of the grandest life-sized monuments in the county, which depicts him being mourned by his first two wives. The bells are rung from the ground floor and are deceptively smooth given the length of the draught.
St Nicholas · Silton
The Grove Arms · Ludwell
The Grove Arms An excellent light and airy thatched pub that offered a tempting range of meals and served us most efficiently. Gillingham The most northerly town in the county, Gillingham (Gylla's homestead) encompasses several hamlets within Blackmore Vale. Although settled by the Romans, it became established as a major town by the Saxons and was the location for a major battle between the English forces of Edmund II and Danish Vikings. The Black Death ravaged the area greater than most and consequently Gillingham found its later expansion being superseded by other towns in the county, thus it purveys a much calmer ambience than most traffic-choked equivalents. The primarily 14th century church is situated in a large close akin to that adjoining a Minster, with the bells being a beautifully balanced eight that belie their weight in their fluency.
Lunch
St Mary · Gillingham
Donhead St Mary Described as Dunheved (head or end of the down) in 871AD, the twin villages take their distinguishing affixes from the dedication of their respective churches. The 13th century church was built on the site of a Roman settlement, 2nd century pottery having been found under the aisles when a new heating system was installed in 1994. The bells are a very fluent six that were installed in 1771 after the medieval bells were sold, although the ropes of 5 and 6 fall directly against the box housing the clock mechanism.
St Mary · Donhead
St Mary · East Knoyle
East Knoyle The village is probably best known for being the birthplace of the famed architect of St Paul's Cathedral, Christopher Wren (a fact that is drawn to the attention of the visitor on the village signs), his father having served as rector here. The church is situated on high ground on the northern fringe of the village, and provides a superb focus as you climb the long and graduated steps up the churchyard. The bells are a counter-clockwise six that are resounding in tone.
Freeland near Witney
16th April 2011
Freeland
St Mary the Virgin 6 3-3-3 in D
Anthony Williamson, Paul Lucas, Andrew Dunn, Charles Smith, Judith Kirby, Hugh Deam, Alison Merryweather-Clarke, Roy Jones, Heather Banyard, Melanie McGregor, John Hearn, Bernard Masterman and Steve Everett.
In the church yard
The post-medieval settlement of Frithlands was documented the 16th century, taking its name from the woodland (frith) here that was later renamed Thrift Wood. Late in the 17th century the name of the village was amended to denote that this free land was for the use of locals to graze their livestock. The 18th century mansion of Freeland House was once the home of the Taunton family, who were the primary local landowners, although it now serves as a nursing home. There is also an Anglican convent here in St Mary's House, a Victorian dwelling built to house retired governesses, the convent having been transferred here in 1952 from where it was founded in Wantage.
SMV
Freeland
During the second half of the 19th century there were five pubs in the village, but the only one still remaining is the Oxfordshire Yeoman, renamed such in 1974, originally known as the New Inn from 1842. The construction of the church, parsonage and school were all funded by the Taunton family, the High Victorian church being in the Gothic Revival style, and the work of John Loughborough Pearson (1869 - 71), who is considered to have been the finest exponent of recreating the early 13th century style. The tower is unusually attached on the north east side of the church, with a distinctive saddleback roof. The original peal of six bells, with 5cwt tenor were cast at Whitechapel in 1896, with the tenor and 4 being broken up as part of the re-hanging in 2010 that saw two new front bells cast by Whitechapel. This is now the lightest ring of six in Oxfordshire. These bells have a superb sound and they were truly a great pleasure to ring.
Buckinghamshire & Northamptonshire
19th March 2011
Great Brickhill
St Mary 8 14-0-7 in F
Shenley
St Mary 6 17-1-11 in Eb
Whaddon
St Mary 6 14-2-21 in G
Calverton
The Shoulder of Mutton
Calverton
All Saints 6 10-1-24 in G#
Cosgrove
St Peter & St Paul 6 11cwt in G
Heather Banyard, Ron Burgess, Paul Kimber, Clare Malone-Lee, Bob Benstead, Hugh Deam, Susan King, Margaret Marsh, Ann Boulting, Andrew Dunn, Peter Lloyd, Bernard Masterman, Jane Burgess, Roy Jones, Paul Lucas, Donna Murphy and John Pusey.
Whaddon · St Mary
Great Brickhill One of three Brickhill villages in the county - the others being Bow and Little - the elevated position of Great Brickhill led to it being used for billeting the Earl of Essex's troops prior to battle during the English Civil War. The original 13th century church has been heavily Victorianized and is constructed of dark ironstone with a stuccoed central tower. The bells were re-hung in a new frame and augmented to an eight in 2010 and they are most definitely worth visiting.
Great Brickhill · St Mary
Shenley · St Mary
Shenley Taking its name from the Anglo-Saxon for a bright glade, Shenley is divided up into four habitations, Brook, Lodge, Wood and Church End. This is widely known as being the "butterfly capital" of England, with 150 species of plant, many of which are attractant to moths and butterflies. The grounds of the modified Norman church are accessed via Burchard Crescent which is the Local Centre that has been likened to a Butlins holiday camp. The church has some spectacular highlights, such as the late 12th century chancel.
Whaddon · St Mary
Calverton · All Saints
Whaddon The name of the village references that wheat was once grown in abundance on hills here, the 2,200acres of Whaddon Chase later becoming a Royal hunting forest. The mansion of Whaddon Hall served as the headquarters for Section 7 of MI6 during World War II, having transferred from Bletchley Park. The church is primarily 14th century, although there was a comprehensive restoration by J.O. Scott 1889 - 91.
Cosgrove · St Peter & St Paul
The 19th century stained glass windows are particularly notable being the work of two leading Victorian exponents Kemp and Bell. Calverton The original settlement here was a farmstead where calves were reared. The church and Neo-Norman west tower were both rebuilt 1817/18 by William Pilkington at the expense of the Hon. Rev. Charles Perceval, who also commissioned the row of Tudorish brick almshouses just south-east of the church. The bells are easy to ring but not so easy to strike accurately. Cosgrove The Grand Union Canal passes directly through the village, with the River Tove skirting the east of Cosgrove on its way to flowing into the River Great Ouse. The Gothic-style Canal Bridge dates to 1800 and marked the point where the two halves of the Grand Junction Canal met having started at Braunston from the north and Brentford in the south. The parish church is basically 13th century with a 70ft Perpendicular tower that is topped by a gilded copper weathercock that is considered to be medieval. The tower houses six exceedingly fluent bells, with one, Santa Maria dating to the 15th century.
Bedfordshire
Saturday 26th February 2011
Felmersham
St Mary 8 20-2-18 in Eb
Harrold
St Peter 6 13-0-6 in F#
The Bell
Odell
Carlton
St Mary 6 9-2-7 in Ab
Christian Burrell, Simon Edwards, Judith Kirby, Hugh Deam, Steve Everett, Paul Lucas, Andrew Dunn, Roy Jones, Bernard Masterman and John Pusey.
Cambridge Major, Plain Bob Major, Stedman Triples, Grandsire Triples, London, Norwich, Oxford Treble Bob, Double Oxford, Single Oxford, Little Bob and St Clements.
Felmersham
Felmersham Deriving its name from a homestead by a fallow coloured pool, the village also incorporates the hamlet of Radwell and is virtually encircled by the River Great Ouse. The west front of the parish church dates to 1220 - 1240 and is considered a prime example of Early English architecture at its best. The ringing room houses a now rare chiming mechanism of 1880 by Lund & Blockley with a wooden chiming barrel. The five bells here since the 17th century were re-tuned and augmented to a fine eight in 1955. Harrold The name of the village denotes its origins as part of high forest land. Although very much a village today, Harrold was once an ancient market town, with the iconic buttermarket at its heart attesting to its former role. It is bordered by the river meadows and lakes of the 144acre Harrold-Odell Country Park, with the zigzag bridge over the River Great Ouse between the two villages being a classic of its type. The first recorded vicar here was appointed by Harrold Priory in 1226, the Priory of nuns having been founded adjacent to the church a century earlier by Samson le Fort. The coursed limestone rubble fabric of the church is primarily 13th century, with the tower from a century later, capped by a Gothic spire. The bells are rung from a gallery and are a splendid six indeed.
St Mary · Felmersham
St Peter · Harrold
The Bell · Odell
St Mary · Carlton
The Bell, Odell One of the best known pubs in the county, this thatched hostelry provided a comprehensive menu and relaxing atmosphere. Carlton The name of the village is common to what were Danelaw areas of the Midlands and the North, being the Old Scandinavian for an estate of freemen or peasants. This is the most southerly village of this name and was on the frontier of King Knut's Viking territory. There are two churches here due to Chellington merging with Carlton in 1934, with the Chellington one now being redundant. The church of St Mary is isolated to the north due to the village developing southwards since the church was first constructed in 950AD. The west tower was added in 1100 and is guarded on all four top corners by well preserved gargoyles. The bells are an excellent six that were augmented from a four to a five and then a six between 1994 and 1997. The tenor bell is particularly significant, dating as it does to around 1490 by John Mitchel of Wokingham.