Worship

Sunday 9th at 11am

Lay led Family Service

 

Sunday 23rd at 9.30am

Holy Communion

 

Monday 24th at 6pm

Canlelight Carol Service

Followed by mulled wine and mince pies 

 

Bell Ringing

Bell ringing practice takes place at the church every Friday at 7.30pm.

Please contact David Stanford on 07711683792 for details.

New ringers very welcome

 

 

 

Clopton Bells Remembered

 

Clopton Bells Remembered

by George Pipe

George Pipe comes from a family of bell ringers and he has rung bells and taught people to ring bells across the world. Here he remembers the Clopton bells from the mid 20th century.

In the Summer of 1944 Clopton bells had been derelict for about thirty years due mainly to the ringers having been lost in the Great War or moving away from the village.

Cecil Mayne from Harrow who had been working at Croydon and Heathrow aerodromes was seconded to Debach. An electrical engineer he was a good friend of my father – also Cecil. They had rung together in Middlesex and Berkshire in the 1920’s and 1930’s and were both especially keen on restoring rings of bells. They decided that with Grundisburgh, Hasketon, Otley, Cretingham and Monewdon all ringable it would be good to ‘get Clopton going again’. With the Rector’s permission (the Reverend John Large) they made an initial inspection, (taking me with them, as a nine year old learning to ring at Grundisburgh.)

The prospect was daunting on account of the louvre on the East face having rotted and thus several slats were missing. The bellchamber was about eight feet deep in pigeons and rooks’ sticks and guano, almost to the height of the top of the bell wheels.  The two Cecils imagined, as it happened rightly, that clearing this out, repairing the louvre and making the others bird proof the bells would probably be ringable.

My Father was friendly with the owner of Pear Tree Farm who willingly gave him sacks and binder-twine. He and Cecil opened up the trap doors and amidst dust and filth dropped the rubbish down into the porch where I was seconded to bag it up for collection by Mr Edwards. (I think that was the farmer’s name) Thirty or forty sacks later; sweeping up the porch, a check on the state of the ropes – three or four needed splicing -and a liberal dose of oil for bearings and pulleys meant we might be in business.

The bells were gingerly ‘pulled up’ one at a time and all seemed well; ready to get a band together to ‘try ‘em out bor’. The Cecils felt the ringing would be more manageable if rung from the upper floor, shorter draught of rope albeit noisier; cured by the Pear Tree Farm sacks over the floor.

By that time in 1944 Winston Churchill had lifted the wartime ban on ringing in the expectation that Victory might not be too far away. So, after Sunday service ringing at Grundisburgh the following week, six went over to ring at Clopton. All was well though rather hard work they said.

What it did mean was that when Victory Day was finally announced for May 8th 1945 Clopton would be ready. And so it was, a morning I shall never forget (by then I was ten and very  keen.

We assembled I recall on Grundisburgh Green at 8.00am : my Father, Mother (Sylvia) and me, Frederick Crapnell the blacksmith, Charles Clarke the builder in Stoney Road and Jack Gilbert who farmed Corner Farm, Otley.  All on bicycles we had a memorable day and such a welcome everywhere. Ringing at Grundisburgh,  Burgh, Clopton, with a pint (lemonade for me) and huge oatmeal biscuits the size of plates at The Crown. Then on to Otley,  Chapel Road to Monewdon and down to Pettistree and Wickham Market to a fine tea courtesy Joseph Preastner at Lawn Stores. Then cycling  back to Grundisburgh. Not a bad days work one might say but such a happy one.

Clopton bells rang out ‘steady and true’ that day. How good sixty eight years on, they were restored sounding out over this lovely countryside and still proclaiming ‘The Good News’.

Well done everybody!

                                                                        George Pipe

                                                                        Ipswich,   January 2014.