If you’d like to join the bell ringing team please contact John Stock tel.: 01983 719502; email: ODDJOB.IW@TALKTALK.NET
Tower Captain: John Stock – Tel: 01983 719502; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tower Secretary: J Parry – Tel: 01983 406016
Tower entrance door is located at the base of the tower facing East
Designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, the church was built between 1869 and 1872, the steeple however, was not completed until 1882 and the vestry added in 1891.
Cast by John Taylor of Loughborough and installed in 1886, All Saints’, Ryde, has a ring of eight bells. The Ellacombe Chime, which remains useable to this day, was installed during 1886 at the same time as the bells.
The first bell for the church was cast by Warner in 1870 (1ft 11in in diameter) and later became known as the “Children’s Bell” as it was used for many years to summon the children of the parish to their special service every Sunday after Matins.
Where this bell hung at first is uncertain, but records show that in 1875 “the bellringer was paid £19 2 shillings for his services” that year. The Children’s Bell was placed in the tower with the others in 1886 and now hangs adjacent to the Treble on a level above the other seven bells. It did at first ’swing’ but is now hung ‘dead’ and rung as a ‘Sanctus bell’ and for weekday services.
At the Dedication Festival of All Saints’ on 1st November, 1886, the first peal of Grandsire Triples on the bells was rung by ringers of the Winchester Guild of Church Bellringers. The prayers used were from the service of dedication of the bells of St Paul’s Cathedral, London.
The Winchester Guild itself was formed on 26th June, 1879, and members of the Guild came to Ryde to teach local recruits until they could ring proficiently.
On 25th April, 1889, a peal of Grandsire Triples was the second peal on the bells and the first by a local band, an event recorded on a peal board in the ringing room. Those first ringers are recorded as being: Treble, J G Norris; 2, O Coombes; 3, W E Ward; 4, W Jennings; 5, H Jennings; 6, A R Ward; 7, G Williams (Conductor); Tenor, A Ward.
The Isle of Wight District was formed in 1927, the change of name being noted on one of the boards for a peal of Bob Major. Portsmouth became a separate diocese in 1927 and the Guild was re-named “The Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers”. In 1979 the Guild celebrated its centenary with, of course, another peal on our bells of Plain Bob Major, rung by an all-island band of ringers.
The association of Royalty with the Island features in some dedications of peals. In 1922 a peal of Grandsire Triples was rung in honour of the wedding of HRH Princess Mary to Viscount Lascelles KG, DSO. An all-island band rang a peal of Plain Bob Major in 1977 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II, and again 25 years later in 2003, to celebrate the Golden Jubilee, a peal of Grandsire Triples was rung.
The Coombes family feature on several peal boards. George Henry Coombes was honoured by a peal on his 70th birthday in 1913, then yet another in 1935 for his 92nd birthday.
The bells were re-hung, with new gudgeons, on ball-bearings in 1933, and during 2007 extensive work was carried out to the headstocks and wheels.
The war years of 1939-45 prevented peal ringing although practices were still held during the ‘black out’; the tower bells having their clappers ‘tied’, curved iron bars (still in the belfry) forming a mechanism to ring the tiny Seage’s apparatus bells hanging around the walls of the ringing room, which are still in place to this day, although not operational. This dainty bell-music could apparently just be heard on the pavement outside.
Plain Bob Major on 29th April, 1972, was the first peal achieved after the war years by mainly local ringers. Mr Alf Rees did much to teach ‘handling’ to many ringers and a peal of Double Norwich Court Bob Major was rung on 29th October, 1977, in honour of his 81st birthday.
With 14 ringing churches the Island has a large community of bellringers and with the passing of enthusiasts like Lester Bailey and Fred Green we remember with fondness their dedication annually with inter-tower ringing competitions, recording our ringing efforts for future generations on our ringing room walls.
The present band practice regularly on Tuesday evenings from 7.30pm – 9.00pm. Sunday Service ringing takes place at 9.30am for the Family Eucharist at 10.00am and 6.00pm for Evensong at 6.30pm.