Peal Associated with the Saffron Walden Society of Change Ringers

Saffron Walden, Essex, St Mary

Saturday Nov 22 1879 in 3 hours 25 minutes

5056 Kent Treble Bob Major

George Bennett 1 Samuel Slater [Glemsford] 5
John Penning 2 York Green 6
George Martin 3 George Taylor [Cambridge] 7
Frederick Wells [Glemsford] 4 Frederick Pitstow (C) 8
PB-ID: 4C7-197
From the local press:


On Saturday, Nov. 22, 1879, a Peal was rung on the Bells of the Parish Church ; the last complete Peal of which we have any record having been rung in 1817 [this was before NJP's discovery of earlier peals of 1826 and 1828 in the Osborne Manuscripts]. The Peal consisted of 5056 changes of Kent Treble Bob. The Ringers stood as follows:—George Bennett (1st), John Penning (2nd), George Martin (3rd), Saffron Walden ; Frederick Wells (4th) and Samuel Slater (5th) Glemsford ; York Green (6th), Saffron Walden ; George Taylor (7th), Cambridge ; Frederick Pitstow (Tenor), Saffron Walden.

The Composer of the above Peal was Mr. Nathan Pitstow, whose brother Frederick conducted.

We should heartily congratulate our Ringers on their success, and our Townsman on his excellent composition. Time occupied 3 hours 25 minutes.

The below poem by the ringer of the 2nd, was published as a leaflet to celebrate the first successful peal on the bells in sixty years (note the embedded reference to Jasper Whitfield Snowdon in the last three verses). [Copy in ringer's archive - Misc 34]





Five thousand and fifty six changes were rung,
Without a false one to be found among
	That peal so true.
For music sweet it ever will be famed,
	And justly too.

Three hours and twenty five minutes had passed,
And from the first change even to the last
	All were as one.
Each heart was in the task he had in hand,
And it was in every mind to firmly stand
	Till it was done.

'Tis many years since Walden folks can boast
Of having heard a peal; although a host
	Haven often tried.
So they may rejoice who thus completed
A task which often others had defeated,
	And much annoyed.

The last recorded was in seventeen,
And 'tis not known for certain there has been
	Since then a peal.
So that for sixty years we perhaps may say
None have been rung; but be that as it may
	This one was real.

The peal itself shows feats in transpositions,
The sixth being its extent in all positions,
	As it will show.
The composer's name often has been heard
And few have ever at his peals demurred -
	N. J. Pitstow.

And now we will tell of the famous eight
Who rung in this peal; 'tis but just to state
	Every man's name.
All rung their bells well, with scarce a blunder,
And here may be found on looking under,
	A list of the same.

George Bennett the Treble carefully sway'd
And in the right places the dodgings made,
	With striking good.
To him, an old ringer, a peal was new;
Good ringing he knows, and loves it too,
	'Tis right he should.

The second, John Penning steadily rung,
And thoughtfully guided her course among
	The larger bells,
But not wishing at all to egotize,
Leaves others to judge - where their merit lies,
	With pleasure tells.

The third had a skilful striker indeed,
And praises in this he will scarcely need,
	Well known is he:
George Martin his name; a trusty ringer,
And through the peal did he nobly ring her,
	Where she should be.

The fourth takes equal share in the honour
Or rather Fred. Wells, stationed upon her
	That lucky day.
Suffice it to state, that with all the rest
With mind and hand he tried his very best
	To go his way.

Samuel Slater was places in order next,
And throughout the whole he was not perplexed
	Or lost his place.
A good ringer is he and fond of it,
And long distance deters him not a bit;
	The tower to grace.

The sixth found its way, though till this was o'er
Had not given its sound through a peal before -
	Rung by York Green.
Who played well his part in this pleasing art,
And put all else from his mind apart,
	As might be seen.

The seventh was managed by George Taylor,
Handling his rope like a dexterous sailor;
	Striking so well.
To see him ring is really a pleasure,
And to a belfry he is quite a treasure,
	And few excel.

And now we have come to the last in rounds,
But though last, not least, for praise without bounds
	Is due to him.
As conductor, his great talent did show,
And o'er to the name of Frederic Pitstow
	Let praises brim.
Success to all ringers on all future days
For nothing much greater science displays
	Than bell ringing.
May they always unite in heart and hand
For only as such they may hope to stand;
	Pleasure bringing.
Hail to the ringer where're he is found,
With every success from the "go to the round."
Always keeps going though in one place stands -
Music to the ear he gives with his hands.

Though oft found in ropes, yet still he's not bound,
Changes he loves, though in principle sound;
He glories in "striking" but his blows on the ear
Do not cause pain, but will dry up a tear.

Though always the same it is ever new,
And though always changing still remains true;
One hardly sees in its entirety,
Its intricacy or the endless variety.

One may be "wrong" and be perfectly right,
Or may be "right" and yet certainly wrong;
May find himself "left", yet still may be right,
And although "right or left", may be wrong.

At the sound of a "bob" one will run "down"
But not for a shilling:- merely for change
For him who says "go," but through down "below"
Loses in ringing not a single blow.

Another a difficult problem takes,
Makes two "thirds" with two "fourths" without mistakes;
While one "above" who is doing the "double"
Slips through the whole without any trouble.

If in the "slow" may be going quick
Be "running in quick" and yet going slow,
Not have one himself though "bobs" come in thick,
But all this is easy to those who know.

Fives are "doubles" that come not without singles
Sixes are "minors" though major their key;
Sevens, "triples" that should go without mingles
Eights, "major," even if minor they be.

There is "dodging and running and doubling"
Lying still, making places and snapping,"
Yet with care this will not be found troubling
May be somewhat acquired by mapping.

Perhaps he may be called into "Court"
Or in the country to ring "London Place"
And if clever in "Surprises" find sport
Look the "proof and in and out" in the face.

The ringer should delight in much "pricking,"
As it will show him the "course" he must run,
And it's only by study and sticking
That he can hope to be counted as one.

J oy to the bells, the merry merry bells,
A s gaily they ring, their sweet music swells,
S ofter or louder as echoes are playing,
P leasant and cheerful, high art displaying.
E ver ringing on, let the joyous bells sound
R ight, wrong out or home, from the go to round.

W elcome are the iron tongues, welcome, ever dear
H ome or distant they will give pleasure to the ear;
I n the morning, noon and eve, or in the silent night
T heir's is the music which is always clear and bright,
F lowing on serenely through brightness of the gloom
I n the bright party joying - mourning at the tomb,
E very changing scene of life do the bells forth show
L oudly telling us of joy, joining in our woe,
D irecting our best thoughts above, whilst cheering us below.

S ound above all others is that of the steeple bells
N othing so cheerful as their notes o'er the landscape swells
O dd or even they are pleasant, changeable and true
W ith music ever varying, old yet ever new.
D ulcet, clear and strong in tone, may they always stand
O bjects of esteem throughout our great English land,
N obly loved and honoured by us and every band.


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