At the turn of the century, St Nicholas’ Church, Swayfield, was given a set of 37 bells, and generations of ringers played them. We believe that they were kept in the Rectory and residents remembered going there to play them on Monday evenings in term time.
During the Second World War, they were sent to America and then Canada for safe keeping before being returned to Swayfield in the 1950s.
But interest in them waned, and they were left in their coffin-like box in the vestry of the Church until in the 1980s they were re-discovered and refurbished by Vaughan Evans.
Under his guidance, in 1989 the bells rang out once more, providing a great community activity – and a musical accompaniment to village functions such as the Pensioners’ Christmas Dinner, Harvest Festival and Carol Services.
The bells were made by John Warner & Sons of London, a firm of bell founders which no longer exists. Originally tuned to a pitch about a quarter of a note sharp of today’s standard pitch, they could not be played with any other team’s bells, nor with any other musical instrument.
But they have since been re-tuned to a standard pitch, and four which were of “poor tonal quality” re-cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. They are now considered one of the best sets of English bells in this part of the world.
Over time the team has ranged in age from 9 to almost 90, most of whom initially had no ringing experience. In 1992 the then team came first in the handbells section of the Grantham Music Festival, competing against three much longer established teams.
To continue this tradition, we now need a few new ringers. You don’t need to have rung handbells before or be able to read music. Just enjoy making music and being part of a team.
We still practise on Monday evenings at 7.30pm in Swayfield Village Hall.
Do come and join us!
For more information, please contact
Janet Roberts on 01476 550374 or
Sue Woodman on 01476 550795
We look forward to seeing you.