The dedication and blessing of the new bells took place on November 18th 2012.

Click on images to enlarge.

An hour before the Service was due to start, almost all of the St Giles ringers gathered in the ringing chamber to ring the new bells in celebration of the fact that for the first time in its history, and despite previous good intentions which for various reasons never came to fruition, St Giles at last had a peal of bells.    

We were joined by other ringers, some of whom were staying for the Service and post Service celebration in the village hall, and others who were simply passing by and in bell ringing parlance, called in to ‘grab’ the tower! One such ringer had travelled from St Albans to ring at what was a new tower for them. We were pleased to accommodate such ringers and as long as this doesn’t act to the detriment of locals by pushing them out, it is normal ringing custom to welcome visiting ringers and I’ve been afforded this privilege over many years when travelling in this country, and abroad, and thus ringing at many far flung places.

Prior to the Service there was last minute discussion on precisely what would happen when the Rt Revd Dr Brian Castle, Bishop of Tonbridge, visited the ringing chamber during the Service to dedicate the bells. Having sorted this out, we rang the bells up to the start time of the Service and then went to our various pews. The church was full and included many people involved with the bell installation, various invited guests, dignitaries and donors as well as the three previous Rectors.

At the point in the Service when the Dedication was to take place, the Bishop’s party went to the base of the tower and then up to the ringing chamber and Dedicated the six new bells as well as, specifically, the number two bell which bears the inscriptions recording the names of Tess Molyneux and Ian Matheson and also the 1951 Gillet and Johnston bell was rededicated.  
On descending the tower and returning into the church the Service continued and, a little later the offertory hymn which was the Bell Ringers hymn, Unchanging God, was sung with great gusto, particularly by the many bell ringers present.    

After the Service there was a little more ringing as many of the congregation proceeded to the village hall for celebratory drinks and nibbles. The village hall gathering was a wonderful opportunity for everyone to mingle and meet various people involved with the bell installation project.

We thank those who contributed in whatever way. There was physical work, financial contributions and donations and much planning and organisation and if any one element of the important sequence of events had not happened then the project would never have come to fruition. Additionally there was the training of ringers over the previous 12 months, mainly at Chelsfield. So thank you everyone.   

Article by Nick Wilkins, photos Nick Reynolds


Ringers Team

The Ringing team for this special occasion were - left to right:

Lesley Barclay, Carole Fruin, Bobbie Fairclough,

Nick Wilkins, Tony Fisher, Becca Prinsloo.

Helped with the Installation:

Loughborough Bell Foundry, Kent County Association of Change Ringers, Lesley Barclay, Doug Fisher, Tony Fisher, Andy Fruin, Richard George, Frank Lewis, Carl Scarlett, Nick Wilkins plus other contributions with refreshments and man-handling bells and steelwork.