Church of England Diocese of Carlisle Waberthwaite

Bell-ringing with a difference

3 Aug 2020, 2 p.m.
Community_news News_about_our_building

St John's bells are ringing out now services are back. although with a careful risk assessment, Thank you Nigel! 

The first written reference to the date of the two bells is from 1552, but the inscriptions suggest they are older. They were rehung when the bell turret was rebuilt in 1796. The inscriptions are interesting - one is inscribed SANCTUS JACOBUS. DOMINUS THOMAS WALKER. The church, of course is "St John", and we have no record of a name change. Thomas Walker was the rector from 1439 until at least 1473 and may have been the donor. A really fascinating alternative explanation comes from the inscription on the second bell HENRICUS SEXTUS REX. We know that King Henry VI took refuge at nearby Muncaster Castle (possibly in 1461) and gave them the "Luck of Muncaster" as thanks for the help he was given. The story is that he is connected to the bells in some way, perhaps gifting them to the church himself.

We may never know, but students from Oxford University are researching the Luck of Muncaster story, and, who knows. we may find out more about the circumstances around Henry's flight.