Castor August 2014

St. Kyneburgha’s bells and its ringers seem to have been more than usually occupied for the first eight months of this year. Firstly three tails needed replacing, and without Steve Reed anymore to exercise his skill at splicing, and Edward not yet trained, Robin Rogers stepped in and did a brilliant job for us. Well the ropes have been used 2,500 times since new. Secondly, the priest room, adjoining the ringing chamber, possibly one of the oldest continually used rooms in Peterborough, 1310, was redecorated after the Church Trust repaired a water leak in the lead roof.  The room is used as an additional ringing training area.

Sadly we have lost another four ringers, but have been rejoined by two, which brings us up to just eleven regulars, plus we are helped by Joan Parker, Nick Elks and Mandy Loveder. David Banks with Stuart Weston are challenging us with new methods.

We have already rung for five weddings at Castor, and four funerals, three weddings at Wansford and one at Thornhaugh, and one challenging one at Water Newton, that is the bells not the wedding! This is the first time I can remember that we have had four weddings at Castor that have declined the bells which may be due to restricted wedding budgets, but at £15 per rope for at least one and a half hours still seems very competitive, as we ring before and after. We have had two weddings two days running when both brides were over 20 minutes late! This does put a tremendous strain on the ringers, choir, organist and rector when there are other services and duties to perform at fixed times after the ceremony, almost all at other churches which entails travel.

We have had five visiting bands this year, three of which rang peals. Michael Maughan has been twice with his excellent band, and the village looks forward to their visits and the superb ringing, though the parish is being spoilt when their ringing is compared with us.

On a beautifully sunny Sunday our Summer Lunch was hosted by Inga and Richard Moon in their garden, special guests were Beth Graham and Joan Parker.  To make the day even better Inga announced she is expecting her first child in December, we wish them all the very best. She assures me that we will be only one ringer down for a short while and we are making the Priest Room into a crèche, as we did for Bev Rigby and her daughter Robyn sixteen years ago!

We made a very special effort for the Centenary of the Great War. A new plaque with the parishes’ roll of honour was dedicated on the Village Green cross with half muffled ringing before a unique service of remembrance was held on Sunday 3rd August. On the 4th we rang fully muffled for an hour in the evening, which I don’t think has been done for a very long while. According to visitors who came to the church for a moment of reflection said how beautiful the sound was. Though there were clearly audible mechanical sounds, some from the Hastings toggles, but mostly from the worn clapper bushes, nevertheless a very worthwhile and significant evening.

William Baxter