Forest is one of four Island Churches that possess “Rings” of bells. This means that the bells are hung for English Change Ringing as opposed to swing chiming or striking with chiming hammers. The other churches so endowed are Town Church with a ring of eight bells, The Liberation Bells installed in 1995 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the liberation. St Pierre du Bois have a ring of ten bells installed in 1985 for the 40th anniversary. Vale Church and Forest Church each have 6 bells.
Forest originally had four bells, but by the 1980s it had become necessary to do an overhaul and re-hang as a lot of the metal fittings etc had become corroded and in need of serious attention. The result was with the help of the Remède the four bells were refurbished and re-hung, whilst at the same time as this work was done Whitechapel Bell Foundry were able to supply and hang two extra treble bells – the next two notes up to make a ring of six bells the cost of which was covered by a fund raising effort largely within the parish.
The result is a very satisfactory ring of six, considering the fact that two bells date from 1685, two are from the 1890s and of course the two new Whitechapel bells are from 1984. Is has to be said that Whitechapel Bell Foundry made an excellent job of re-tuning the ancient bells and matching in the two new bells, so that with three different dates and three different founders, we have a very fine ring of six bells.
The bells are rung Sunday by Sunday for the 11.00am. Eucharist Service, and for other special evening services as the need arises.
The ringers practice weekly on Wednesday afternoons from 3.30pm until about 5.00pm but people are most welcome to visit and see what we do. We are always interested in teaching new people. I have to say that it does take quite a long time to master the art – you can’t just grab hold and be an expert, there is a lot to learn.
Peter Gallienne, Tower Captain.