Latest Tower News

Tuesday 22nd December 2020.  Taylor's returned to install the Sound Control system.  We now have the facility to operate the belfry triple glazed window units from the ringing chamber.

Saturday 19th December 2020. Congratulations to John Taylor & Co.  '...The Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust has been awarded a grant of £3.45 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.  This will at last enable the major scheme to restore and develop the Foundry buildings and site to begin.
This major grant will be added to matched funding of £1.5 million already raised, together with money from other sources, and major donations in kind. A further £1.3 million pounds worth of repairs has already been successfully completed in the past two years, giving a total spend approaching £7 million! What a lovely Christmas Present...'
Thursday 17th December 2020.  No change to our tier level has been announced so there will be no group ringing for the foreseeable future. 

Tuesday 8th December 2020.   Taylor's began work today to install the triple glazed units of the sound control system to each window in the belfry.  We will have the facility to operate this from the ringing chamber during practices or extended periods of ringing.  Also today the commemorative oak sapling, planted in the churchyard one year ago but did not come out of last year's hibernation, was replaced by Steve and Mary Adams of Rhode Farm.

Tuesday 1st December 2020.  When the national lockdown is lifted our district will be in Tier 2 so no group ringing will take place until further notice.

Saturday 28th November 2020.  When the national lockdown is lifted we will be in Tier 2 so no decision has been made on when ringing will recommence. 

Thursday 19th November 2020.  Tower Captain Margaret Lee says a big thank you to the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting our bell augmentation project.  #ThanksToYou #NationalLottery
'We are the newest ring of 12 Bells in the Country and it's all thanks to YOU for playing the National Lottery.  Thank you from St Mary's Bellringers Bridgwater Somerset'

Wednesday 11th November 2020.  Tolled a single bell in remembrance for two minutes from 10.56 this morning. 

Sunday 8th Novmeber 2020.  Tolled a single bell in remembrance for two minutes from 10.56 this morning. 

Friday 6th November 2020.  Unfortunately due to lock down restrictions ringing is currently suspended until further notice.

Friday 4th September 2020.  Ringing has resumed at St Mary's on our new peal of bells 🙂   We have asessed the risks in accordance with the current guidelines and we now hold a 15 minute, invitation only, 6 bell rehearsal on Friday afternoon with the same band ringing their bell again on Sunday morning for service. 

Wednesday 2nd September 2020.  We have a new spider in the tower.

Sunday 30th August 2020.  For Sunday service, and the final by our Vicar Preb Trish Ollive who leaves us to retire, 6 bells were rung keeping our distance.  We are smiling underneath and are very happy for Trish and Mike.

Friday 24th July 2020.  All ropes fitted.

Test ring of our new bells by the people in the CV-19 bubble during installation.

8th July 2020.  The wheels and fittings are hauled up to the belfry.

29th June 2020.  The bells and castings (H frames) are lifted up into the belfry.

Clockwise from top left: Andrew C. Ogden (Taylors), Anthony Hart (Taylors), Richard Lee (Tower Tutor), Margaret Lee (Tower Captain), John Hallett (Westonzoyland ringer and B&W Bell Adviser)

..... and a very heavy spider.

25th June 2020.  The bells return from the foundry.

18th June 2020.  New bell frame almost complete.

11th June 2020.  The new bell frame arrives at the Church.

8th June 2020.  One of 4 belfry windows ready for the remote controlled triple glazed sound control unit.

Our bells in readiness at the foundry

Our new 5th bell in the tuning shop.  This bell will become the flat 6th in our augmented peal of 13 bells.
The frame with bell fittings in assembly.

April 23rd 2020.  Unable to ring in celebration of St George's Day, but undaunted, some of us met via Zoom for a chat and a laugh!

Thursday 5th March 2020.  The final visit to the foundry to see our last new bell cast, the frame under construction and the bells in the workshop.

Our current 6th bell, or 10th in the new peal of 12, in the workshop.

Empty belfry - not seen for over 100 years

20th December 2019. After two arduous weeks our 8 bells and frame have been removed and transported to Taylor's foundry at Loughborough.  We look forward to the Spring of 2020 when a peal of 13 bells will be returned and installed to St Mary's tower.

12th December 2019.  Second coach trip the the foundry at Loughborough to watch the 2nd and 4th of our 5 new bells cast. 

1st December 2019. At Sunday service ringing 2 bell ringers were awarded their LtR Level 1 certificates by Rev Suse Ison-Stierer.  Pictured LtoR are Richard Lee - Tower Tutor, Chris Tottle, Suse Ison-Stierer and Tracy Rolph.

30th November 2019. The ringers were at the Glastonbury Frost Fayre selling items of craft to raise funds and to promote ringing and our augmentation project.

21st November 2019.  Tree planting morning by the children of St Mary's School.  13 oak saplings, planted with kind support from project delivery partner Steve Adams at Rhode Farm, will create St Mary's Copse. It is hoped these trees will, throughout their lifetime, sequester all the carbon that is emitted to atmosphere during the casting of 5 new bells.  A further single oak sapling was planted in St Mary's churchyard by the Vicar, Prebendary Trish Ollive,  Joyce Barclay-Allen, from the congregation and Margaret Lee, Tower Captain, to commemorate the whole augmentation project.

Monday 11th November.  At the tower AGM 3 bell ringers were awarded their LtR Level 1 certificates by Preb Trish Ollive.  Pictured LtoR are Gerry Huxtable, Trish Ollive, Jo Huxtable and Diane Adams.

Saturday 9th November 2019. The public unveiling of the Poppy Waterfall installation which was the idea of Margaret Lee.  The intention was to commemorate in knitted poppies the lives of 349 local servicemen who lost their lives during the great war.  However, due to the efforts of local and international knitters more than 800 knitted and crocheted poppies were produced to decorate other areas of the Church. The display was put together by the local bell ringers.

Saturday 2nd November 2019. The tower will again be open during the daytime festivities before the Bridgwater Illuminated Carnival later in the evening.

26th October 2019.  The tower was opened to visitors during the Bridgwater Hospital League of Friend fete.

14th October 2019.  Some of the ringers, and a friend, sewing poppies to be displayed in church on Remembrance Sunday.

9th October 2019.  The first Bridgwater U3A hand bell session.  This is the first of regular sessions to be held in the church every Wednesday 1.30-3.30pm.

5th October 2019.  Rob Stevenson, assistant tower captain, receiving the Luxon trophy from Chairman Freda Prime at the branch AGM. This annual award is for the best improver in the Bridgwater branch.

3rd October 2019.  First coach trip to Taylor's Bell Foundry to see the 1st and 3rd of our new bells cast

18th September 2019.  The Bridgwater Homberg Twinning Group were given a guided tour of the tower. 

13th September 2019.  St Mary's tower is open to visitors as part of national Heritage Open Days.

11th September 2019.  Margaret and Richard Lee gave a presentation to the Bridgwater Civic Society at the Victoria Community Centre.  Subjects covered were a brief history of bells and the Church, learning to ring, bell methods and the enjoyment that ringing activities provide. 

4th September 2019.  Tower Captain Margaret Lee at a site meeting with project delivery partner Stephen Adams at Rhode Farm near Bridgwater.  Rhode Farm has kindly allocated a plot of land which will accommodate 13 saplings provided by St Mary's ringers as part of their exciting bell augmentation project.  As these trees mature they will sequester more than all the carbon produced during the casting of 5 new bells which will ring out over Bridgwater, just visible in the background, for hundreds of years in the future.

25th August 2019.  Vicar Trish Ollive presented Angela Creasey with a Level 1 LtR certificate.  Also pictured is Gina Scarboro Angela's tutor.

13th August 2019. Visit by Bristol Civic Society when the members were given a ringing demonstration and a guided tour to the top of the tower for the panoramic views of Bridgwater. 

20th July 2019.  The tower will be open for guided tours during Bridgwater's Quayside Festival.

23rd June 2019.  Vicar Trish Ollive presented Johnathan Trig with Level 1 and Rob Stevenson with Level 2 LtR certificates.  Also pictured is Richard Lee tower tutor.
Pictured left to right - Richard Lee (ART Tower Tutor), Johnathan Trigg, Trish Olive and Rob Stevenson.

22nd June 2019.  Branch Improver session on Raising and Lowering.

Jane Cooke
9th July 1958 - 2nd June 2019
Honorary member of St Mary's Ringers.
A quarter peal was rung by her friends on Tuesday 18th June 2019  in celebration of her life and all she did for the tower.

15th June 2019 - St Mary's ringers enjoying an ice cream in Taunton on their tower outing.

12th June 2019 - Hand bells coming to the tower. 
If you are interested in ringing hand bells watch this space. In the autumn we will be starting a new group dedicated to hand bells in addition to our tower bell ringing activities. Use the contact page to get in touch and we will keep you up to date with our plans.

16th May 2019 - Bawdrip History Group visited the tower.  They experienced a guided tour to the top of the tower, the belfry, clock room and Church.

15th May 2019 - St Mary's Brownies visit to the tower.

13th & 14th May 2019 - Visit to the tower by pupils from year 4 at St Mary's School Bridgwater

20th July 2019 - Tower open day for the Quayside Festival

2nd May 2019 - Shapwick Cub Pack visit to the tower

24th April 2019 - Bridgwater Air Cadets visit to the tower

23rd April 2019 - St Mary's ringers and friends Ringing For England on St Georges Day.

13th April 2019 - ART course on the use of simulators held in the Sedgemoor Ringing Centre

27th April 2019 - Bridgwater Food Festival, the tower will be open during the day.