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On 20th June, 40 members of the congregation took the opportunity to see views of the church that are normally hidden from them, when the ringers hosted an ‘open tower’ after the 9.30 Sunday morning service. First stop was the ringing room, which is on the balcony that you can see from the nave, where they had a brief introduction to English style ringing with the aid of a model bell, and a demonstration of how little effort is needed to ring a half ton bell.
A somewhat bigger climb brought them to the clock room to see the 180 year old clock. After another short climb they entered the bell chamber, where they could see the bells close to – like the model but far bigger! Here they could really see how the bells work, as well as some of the history of how they have changed over the 300 years that the oldest bells have been there. They saw (and heard) one of the bells being rung – half a ton of metal swinging seemingly effortlessly before their eyes.
After a final climb they emerged into the daylight on the tower roof where, standing well above roof-top level, they could see Wokingham spread out around them. It’s a long way down from the top (someone counted 92 steps) but at least it was downhill.
For information and pictures, see: AllSaintsWokinghamBells.org.uk/tower/
If you know a group that would like a tower tour, or a talk on bellringing, please contact me on 0118 978 5520
John Harrison (July 2010)
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