Bellringers

The Bellringers

St. Andrew’s has a ring of 8 bells which is regarded as one of the best in Somerset. There is a very active band of ringers whose ages range from early twenties to early eighties. The bells are rung for all 10.15am and most 6.15pm services, and there is a regular practice on Wednesday evening. They are also rung for weddings (when requested), and for other local and national occasions. The ringers also assist with access to the tower for other events, such as Church Days and fetes.

The Bells

The tower of St Andrew’s Backwell was erected circa 1470 and contains a first class ring of eight bells.  They are hung for English change ringing, a traditional mode of church bell ringing in which the bells are rung by swinging them “full circle” through nearly 360 degrees.  The bells are sounded in a series of “rows” i.e. varying sequences of the eight notes of the scale.  Each row contains each bell’s note once only, and each row must differ from every other row within a “touch” i.e. a performance.

The bells' ages vary, the treble and second being added to the original six by Taylors of Loughborough in 1938.  Numbers 3 and 6 were recast by T Meons in 1820.  The 4th and 5th are medieval, the 4th cast by H Jefferies of Bristol, listed by the Council for the Care of Churches, the 5th pre-Reformation with the Latin inscription "Sancte Luca  ora pro nobis" (St Luke pray for us)

Numbers 7 and 8 were both recast by Evans of Chepstow in 1798 both CCC listed, with the tenor bell weighing 17cwt 3qrs 9lbs, and its inscription includes the names of the Churchwardens at the time, Edward Bullock and John Clark, with the homely "I sound to bid the sick repent in hopes of life when death is spent".

Evans was not averse to publicity, and the 7th is inscribed "Billy and Boosh may come and see what Evans and Nott have done by me", a possible disparaging reference to our local (quite famous) bellfounder and his bellhanger whose foundry was sited at nearby Chew Stoke.