Bells & Bellringing

The current(2007) compliment of bells is:

Treble Bell: John Stephens, Norwich 1717 5cwt, 1qtr, 18lbs
No 2 Bell: John Stephens, Norwich 1717 6cwt, 2qtr, 14lbs
No 3 Bell: A & W Brend, Norwich 1611 7cwt, 2qtr, 20lbs
No 4 Bell: R Brasyer, Norwich 15th Century 8cwt, 3qtr, 8lbs
No 5 Bell: Meers & Stainbank, London 1862 10cwt, 1qtr, 2lbs
Tenor Bell: R Brasyer, Norwich 15th Century 12cwt, 2qtr, 8lbs

The peal is tuned to the key of F (697Hz)

The original inscriptions on the bells are as follows:

Treble: "John Stephens bell fovnder of Norwich made me 1717"

2: "Christo Burraway; John Keme. Chvrchwardens. John Stephens fecit 1717"

3: "Roger Stannow N.G.T.R.E. Anno Domini 1611 AWB"; on the crown is "Robert Linsy, Clarke."

4: "x Petrus Ad Eterne Ducat Nos Pascue Vite"; on the crown is "ser ric grauour" and three shields (Brasyer). Alice Skowe of Martham, by her will dated 1468, appointed Thos Skowe, her husband, and Sir Richard Gravoure, her son, executors.

NB. In 1860, this bell was broken, and has since been recast with the original inscription and date, but with the following addition, Recast by G Mears and Co. of London, 1862.

Tenor: "CMIRGLDHNEAOKQVPSFTXB" and a shield (Brasyer).

In 1552 there were only four bells of 8cwt, 12cwt, 15cwt & 20cwt.
NB. The 15cwt tenor (listed above) was probably recast in 1717 to create the new treble & second bells, bringing a ring of five bells up to a ring of six.

The treble and 3rd bells were repaired by welding at Soundweld, Newmarket, Suffolk. The six bells were tuned and equipped with all new ringing fittings for re-hanging in a new fabricated steel frame during 2000 by Tony Baines.

The bells had stood silent for over 70 years due to an unsafe wooden bell-frame in the upper belfry. For a number of years the sound of recorded bells was played through large loud speakers mounted on the old wooden frame.
Early in the 1990s a decision was made to get the bells removed from the old frame, restored and retuned and refitted in a new frame lower down in the tower beneath the old frame (the old wooden frame remains in situ. in the upper belfry).

A small local team of dedicated bell-ringers now ensure that the sound of the bells once again rings out from Martham, St Mary the Virgin, for Sunday morning services and also weddings and if required funerals.

The current team consists of:

Nicola Hems Tower Captain & Ringing Master
Richard Hems
Michael Hems
Christine Duxbury
John Webb (Horsey)
Chris Harrison Tower Correspondent and NDA Belfry Advisory team member

Occasional ringing assistance is provided by other ringers in the nearby vicinity, but new ringers are always urgently needed to maintain the tradition of a very old art. Ringing practice is on Wednesday evenings throughout the year from 7.30-9.00pm. Ringing for morning services on Sundays is from 9.45-10.30am

If you are interested, please get in touch with Chris Harrison at 6 Pine Close, Martham. Tel: 01493 748372