Buckland has 6 bells in a timber framed steeple, the largest of which, the tenor weighs 4 cwt.
Visiting ringers are always welcome to join us between 8pm and 9.30pm for our Friday evening practice. On Sundays we ring for services between 8.55am and 9.25am on the 1st and 4th Sundays and alternate with Betchworth on the 3rd and 5th Sundays, ringing between 9.55am and 10.25am. A schedule of services for the current month is published on the church website.
We also ring, as and when requested, for other services including weddings and funerals, to commemorate special events and to herald the opening of community events. England is the home of “change ringing” which requires the bells to keep changing their position relative to each other to create different sound patterns. Many established sequences of changes are referred to as “methods” and are given distinguishing names.
In 2016 we rung a number of “quarter peals”, each taking at least 45 minutes to complete and consisting of 1260 changes. Quarter peals are traditionally rung to commemorate specific events; 2016 included a quarter peal to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.
Members of our tower band regularly visit other local towers and participate in Association events and training. We hold an annual dinner in January and an annual summer outing, which we share with Betchworth ringers and a few of our regular visitors. In June 2016 we visited several towers in and around Uckfield, East Sussex, in 2015 we visited North Kent and in 2014 we headed south to visit four towers in West Sussex with lunch at the seaside and tea in the South Downs. Click outing report to read more about the 2014 trip into Sussex.
A short history of the bells
The Buckland bells are mentioned in an inventory that was made in 1548, as “three bells in the steeple and a handbell to be kept until the Kinges majesties pleasure be further known”; the king at the time being Edward VI.
William Eldridge is recorded as having furnished the tower with bells that included a tenor of 31 and a half inches diameter in 1681. The church underwent an extensive refurbishment in 1860 afterwhich the church had a ringing chamber of five bells in the steeple with fittings throughout of English oak. At this time J Warner & Sons are reported to have recast the treble and second bells. The same company subsequently installed a new treble in 1892 taking the number of bells to six. In 1900, J Warner & Sons recast the larger bells (the fourth, fifth and tenor bells), from a pattern inscribed “W Eldridge made mee – 1681”, and rehung all six bells in an iron frame.
All six bells were removed to be serviced, retuned and rehung by Whitechapel Foundry in August 2005. To view photographs taken in 2005 please click Gallery
In September 2016 we replaced the six bell ropes that had been in use since the 2005 rehanging of the bells.