2007 - Bells are heard in Funtington Parish again
Until 2007 The St. Mary’s Church tower contained just three bells, all cast by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in 1894 and hung in a sixteenth century wooden frame, used only for chiming with static hammers. There had been interest for some years in augmenting the three bells and hanging them in a new frame for a traditional full circle ringing.
In 2007 the three were taken back to the Whitechapel foundry where their tuning was adjusted, two lighter bells were cast to go with them, and a third bell, saved from the shop’s clock chime when Hannington’s department store in Brighton closed, incorporated with them to make a ring of six. The returning bells and the new ones were hung for full circle ringing in a new cast iron frame, which fitted neatly below the retained old frame.
The new ring was dedicated by the Venerable J.J. Holliman on Sunday, October 28th., 2007, and the bells been rung for every Sunday morning service since by a local band, most of whom learned to ring on the new bells. We practise regularly on Tuesday evenings between 7 and 9pm, and visitors are always welcome. Sunday ringing is at 8.55am for the 9.30am service, except on the first Sunday when it is at 10.20.
The bells are light and easy to ring - the heaviest is 5½ cwt.: its equivalent at Chichester Cathedral is 18 cwt. They are rung from the ground floor of the tower, which makes it very easy to welcome visiting ringers and anyone interested in learning to ring, or just curious about the bells. If you’re interested in joining us to ring on a Tuesday evening or Sunday morning, please contact John Kitchener, Tower Secretary, by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone on 01243 573899. If you’d just like to find out more about bells and bellringers, come and see us on a Tuesday evening. You might even decide to learn to ring.