For a number of years the five bells of St. Mary's, Holme-next-the-Sea had been chimed by swinging them to and fro using the attached ropes.
Although the bells did 'ring', it was very difficult to control the order in which they sounded. In August, 2002 a band of local villagers
investigated the possibility of restoring the bells to full working order with a view to ringing them full circle - the way they were designed
to be rung. At that time we knew nothing about bell ringing, but we soon started to learn!
After seeking the advice of a few experts we worked on the bells and soon had them ready to be rung in the traditional manner. At this stage we hit a snag. We had no idea what the traditional manner actually involved! With the help of other towers, especially those at Great Bircham and Dersingham, ten of us started to learn how to handle the ropes - and the bells attached to the end of the ropes. A few months later, and slightly nervously, five of us rang in rounds (that's the five bells in order from the lightest to the heaviest) for the first time. Soon we were ringing before Sunday services and that was particularly satisfying being the reason the tower was originally built and the bells cast and hung in the belfry.
At the time of writing, April 2022, there were only two ringers remaining in the home band. Before COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020 regular Tuesday practices had become difficult to
arrange and often had to be cancelled because there were simply not enough people available to ring for a practice.
The Tower Captain retired from bell ringing in April 2022 and there are currently no ringing practices being held. In the past the bells have joyfully announced weddings, rung solemnly and half-muffled for funerals and have rung to mark special occasions including H.M. The Queen's 80th birthday, the 200th Anniversary of Admiral Lord Nelson's Victory at Trafalgar, the 60th Anniversary of the end of World War Two and the 70th anniversary of VJ Day.
The last two decades, since 2002, saw a very successful and busy period in the tower after the bells had received considerable attention but, following a gradual but steady decline in the number of local ringers, sadly that is now just a memory...
This photo was taken when the Society had a few more ringers!
L-R - Gloria Whitbread, Tony Foster, Janet Foster, Ann Rossington, Colin Abbiss, Janet Abbiss
The St. Mary's, Holme-next-the-Sea Society of Bell Ringers is currently 'on hold' as there is no ringing taking place.