To commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the deaths of eight World War 1 soldiers from Arkesden …click on link…
Introduction to Village Life
WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN A NEW SKILL AND MEET A GROUP OF FRIENDLY NEIGHBOURS?
You may have read in the press that there have been reports which say that bell ringing is a very healthy pastime as it improves core stability and helps keep an active mind. Well, here in Arkesden the village not only enjoys listening to the church bells on Sundays and special occasions but everyone also has the opportunity to join a friendly and enthusiastic group of bell ringers.
The group meets every Wednesday night for an hour’s practice in the church tower. Anyone who would like to learn about this ancient skill would be very welcome, from teenagers to pensioners. Recently two new residents came along to find out more about bell ringing – they stayed, quickly learnt the ropes and are now ringing as part of the team on Sunday mornings. We follow up our practice hour with a visit to the Axe and Compasses for refreshment, and we also arrange annual outing days to visit other towers around the area which include a good pub lunch half way through the day.
If you would be interested in finding out more about this enjoyable pastime please ring Anthea Boon (01799 550861) or our Tower Captain, Steve Elvidge (01799 550204). Alternatively, just turn up at the church on a Wednesday evening at 8 o’clock. Of course we would also love to hear from anyone who has already rung in another parish.
We look forward to meeting you soon.
History of bells and bell ringing at St. Mary’s, Arkesden
There have been bells and bellringing at St. Mary’s, Arkesden, for over three hundred years. The oldest four (bells 1 (the treble), 3, 4 and 5) were cast as long ago as 1701 by a bellfounder called Richard Keene from Royston. The second bell was cast in 1814 and the tenor (weighing about 5 ½ hundredweight – approximately 280kgs.) was installed in 1931, so making the present ring of six. Thanks to the efforts of the late Ray Newton, and the generosity of villagers, ringers and non-ringers alike, the bells were fully restored in 1999 in time for the millennium.
It was in the 1970’s that regular ringing re-commenced after periods when the bells were rung only intermittently. Dennis and Jean Hall, both originally from Kent and expert ringers, had moved to Builden End, Chrishall, and were looking for a tower to join. Fortunately for us, they chose Arkesden and over the next fifteen years or so, with enormous patience and perseverance, taught countless numbers from Arkesden and surrounding villages to ring.