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Newton Longville
June 1, 1907
Bellringers' Association Annual Meeting
Dedication of Church Bells
The Bishop of Oxford on the Law of Liberty
In conjunction with the annual gathering of the North Bucks branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers, the two new treble bells added to the Newton Longville parish church peal, a memorial gift by the Rev. C. Leslie Norris, M. A. (rector of the parish) and Mrs. Norris, were dedicated by the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Oxford on Saturday afternoon, June 1st. The new bells were cast by Messrs. Mears & Stainbank, of Whitechapel, and have been erected on an independent steel frame by Messrs. Webb & Bennett, of Kidlington (Oxon). They measure respectively 2 feet 3 inches and 2 feet 2 inches in diameter, and are so inscribed "in memoriam, E. H.," and "In memoriam, A. M. H" This magnificent gift of Mr. And Mrs. Norris has been the means of providing Newton Longville with a fine peal of eight bells, and their munificence is greatly appreciated not only by their parishioners but by the general body of bell ringers in North Bucks. The diameter and inscriptions of the six old bells are as follows:- Treble - Diameter2 feet 6¼ inches. "Recast by the munificence of Gilbert Flesher, Esq., who adds honour to the honour of his ancestor of A. D. 1066. 'The noble's motive is the public good.'" No. 2 - Diameter 2 feet 6½ inches. "W. & J. Taylor, Oxford. Fecit 1824." No. 3 - Diameter 2 feet 9½ inches. "W. & J. Taylor, Oxford, founders, 1824." No. 4 - Diameter 2 feet 11½ inches. No inscription. No. 5 - Diameter 3 feet 1 inch. "John Briant, Hartford. Fecit 1800." No. 6 - Diameter 3 feet 5 inches. "R. Taylor, founder, Oxford, MDCCCXXVI." In the morning, at 11.30 a peal of Stedman Triples (a variation of Thurstan's four-part) of 5040 changes was rung in 2 hours 58 minutes by the following:- R. Nichols (treble), H. Swan 2, F. Webb 3, A. Humphreys 4, Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn (Deputy Master of the Guild) 5, H. Hopkins 6, Rev. F. E. Robinson (Master of the Guild) 7, and J. Jenkins tenor. The peal which was excellently rung, was conducted by the Rev. F. E. Robinson, a well known and practical ringer.
The dedication service
The service for the dedication of the two new bells was fixed for 3.30 and at that hour the fine old church was filled with villagers and members of the Guild of Bellringers. The seating arrangements wee excellently carried out by Mr. Thomas Powell and Thomas Henry, the churchwardens.
The following towers of the North Bucks Branch were represented:- Bletchley Messrs. H. Sear (foreman), A. Atkins, J. Higgins, E. Marks. L. Meager, V. Sear and W. Sear; Calverton - Messrs J. Tompkins (foreman). R. Tompkins, G. Tompkins, F. Tompkins, W. Edwards, and A. Shillingford; Chicheley - Messrs G. Beard, E. Brown, W. Brown, E. Wright, H. Wright, L. Wright; Emberton - F. J. Mynard (foreman), W. Freeman and F. W. Booth; Hanslope - Messrs. J. Kingston, T. Evans, E. Eakins and H. Warner; Linslade - Messrs. F. Vickers (foreman), C. Rollings and S. Underwood; Loughton - Messrs. J. Gregory (foreman), E. Kitchener and H. Kitchener; Maids Moreton - Messrs. W. Jolley, H. Jones, W. Jones, T. Jones, Wm. Jones, E. Nichols, H. Johnson, A. Pargiter, and F. Timms; Milton Keynes - Messrs. L. Huckle (foreman), A. Bird, H. Bird, A. Howe, T. Maycock, and J. Meadows; Newport Pagnell - Messrs. W. F. Smith (foreman), W. Ellis, F. Tompkins, E. Lathall and W. Inwood; Newton Longville - Messrs. R. Nichols (foreman), Rev. C. Leslie Norris, G. Cox, J. Dickens, T. Henry, G. Hopkins, H. Hopkins, T. Horne, A. James and A. Roff; Olney - Messrs. S. W. H. Smith (foreman), and E. Boswell; Shenley - Messrs. G. F. Clarke (foreman), E. Willett and H. Cameron; Sympson - Mr. H. Turner (foreman); Sherington - Messrs. J. Robinson (foreman), W. Attwood, J. Smith, E. Smith and W. Wright; Stony Stratford - Messrs. E. Yates (foreman), C. Hopkins, W. Bonham, A. Clark and H. Tucker; Tyringham - Messrs. J. P. Lee (foreman), and G. West; Wing - Messrs. J. Whiteman (foreman), senior band and F. Redruff and C. Mayne junior band; Old Wolverton - Messrs. H. Clarke, W. Beale, W. Bull, T. Beal, E. Beckett and E. Eales. In the body of the church were also noticed the Rev W. B. Rickards (rector of Tyringham-cum-Filgrave), and the Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn, of Witney, the Deputy Master of the Guild.
The robed clergy and choir met the Bishop of Oxford at the entrance to the church, and the service, which was of a most hearty character, opened with the hymn "All people that on earth do dwell," sung as a processional. The pastoral staff was carried by the Rev. H. Last (vicar of Stony Stratford), and the robed clergy were:- The Rev. C. Leslie Norris, M. A. (rector of the parish), Rev. - Goodwin (curate), Rev. G. F. Sams, M. A., R. D., (Emberton), Rev. Dr. Spooner (Warden of New College, Oxford), Rev. F. E. Robinson (Drayton), the Hon. And Rev. W. S. T. W. Fiennes (Milton Keynes), Rev. F. W. Bennitt (Bletchley), Rev. J. T. Atthawes (Loughton), Rev. F. B. Gunnery (Newport Pagnell), Rev. E. M. Gedden (Sherington), and the Rev. A.St. J. Mildmay (Old Wolverton).
The special lesson, taken from Revelation xxi, commencing at the 10th verse, was read by the Warden of New College. The prayers were intoned by the Rector, and as the Bishop and robed clergy proceeded to the belfry where his lordship dedicated the new bells, the congregation joined most heartily in the singing of that well known hymn "Praise the Lord, ye heavens adore Him." The west door was thrown open, and with the customary dedicatory prayers, the bells were opened for use by the Bishop of Oxford.
The bells were rung for a couple of minutes, following which the Bishop gave a homely address from the words, "the perfect law of liberty" - St. James I, 25. It might strike one sometimes as he listened to the sound of a peal of bells how freely, how happily, the sound flowed out far and wide thro' the country: flung out as it were from the church tower and going on in the broadest, happiest liberty all over the land, seeming like the freedom of the open air into which it went - the freshest , freeest and most open-air like sound one could hear. And a one heard the voice of a peal well rung in the country it seemed worthy to take its place in all that was freeest in the life around; it was a voice like the murmuring of the wind in the trees or like the song of the birds. He had heard someone say of a perfect peal "Why, it sounds out like a nightingale." It came a fresh, clear sound ringing out over the country. And if one heard it in a great and crowded city it seemed like the one thing that had freedom of the roofs and narrow streets. Out into the open sky the sound went with a liberty which did not seem attached to the life shut in in the busy centres of commerce and industry. Wherever they heard the bells they seemed to speak in a voice of liberty. Then look inside the belfrey, and if it was a well-ordered one, the ringers would be found bearing themselves as ringers should, doing their work well in ain the right way. What did they see? They saw a group of men silent, not one of them uttering a sound except just the one who gave the word of command. They saw them all grave and serious; they saw them all, if they were thinking of their work rightly, still and reverent, and recognising that while they rang they were rendering a service unto God. They did their work with the most sustained attention, and intensely watchful less they should miss a single point, less anything should go by a fraction of a second wrong. They had their rule, their sequence quite exact. Everything depended upon their doing exactly the right thing at exactly the right moment, and therefore they worked together under rule as strict, as precise, as close, and as exacting as any rule could be. As one watched them with all their strength drawn into their work he saw that they moved almost like a machine; they moved almost as though they could not move otherwise. Or one might take another comparison; they moved like troops in a perfectly trained and disciplined regiment. There was no look of freedom there; no look of doing as you please. The very contrary to all that. Every one of them had his place. They all had their rule to keep, and they all knew that rule must be kept with absolute exactness, so that then far and wide out over the country went the free voice of liberty, the sound of the bells flung out into the wide air, the sound that made people glad as they listened. And inside the bellfrey was the strictest law, the rule that must be kept with the utmost precision , the orders that no one must miss or swerve from. And it was on that the sound of the bells outside and the song they flung far and wide depended. And it was because the ringers knew what law and order meant that they could do their work rightly. They had learnt the law of liberty. They had learnt the law without which no true liberty was reached, and just because of that discipline and precision in the belfrey the free sound went ringing out far and wide all over the land. Where bells were not rung like that they did not get anything like the same result. It was the perfect law of liberty which set all men straight, and those who had not learnt that law did not experience the true liberty. Think what real freedom in life meant teach one of them. Who was really free? Was it the man who simply did what he liked and went as he liked? Was it the man who pleased himself just as it struck him, and did not care for anyone else? Was it the man whose selfish desires and appetites and temper swayed him so that he said he was his own master? They knew such a man was not free. They could not watch him for a day without seeing that he had not self control. If they watched him a little bit longer they would see how his selfishness, his desires, his passion and his temper tightened their hold on him until he became more and more helpless in the power of the bad habits he had taught himself. There was no real freedom there. Freedom was with those who had taken into heart and mind and will the law of liberty, and his lordship defined the law of liberty as an example of Christ Himself. Christ's example showed them the true meaning of the true use of life. He came to teach them that the worth of life lay in living for the happiness and welfare of others and not in seeking their own end in pleasing themselves and in indulging their own passions and letting their tempers rule them. The free and happy life was the life which had at heart the law of liberty, and the law of liberty was an example of Christ the Lord, and the history of God would teach them if they asked Him more and more what the example of Christ meant, and would strengthen them day by day to follow him.
After the sermon, which was followed with the closest attention and interest, the hymn "Fight the good fight" was sung, and from the chancel the Bishop pronounced the Blessing. "Onward Christian Soldiers," was sung as a recessional and the service concluded. Liet.-Col W.J. Levi, J. P., Woughton House, presided with marked ability at the organ.
The Ringers at Tea
Following the service the members of the North Bucks Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers were entertained to a bountiful and well provided tea in the schoolroom by the Rev. C. Leslie Norris, M. A. (rector) and Mrs. Norris. It had been hoped that this function would have taken place on the rectory lawn, but the heavy and continuous downpour of rain in the afternoon made this impossible. Although driven to seek the shelter of the schoolroom the repast was greatly enjoyed, and the kindness of the Rector and Mrs. Norris much appreciated. Following the tea,
of the North Bucks Branch of the Guild was held. The Rev. C. Leslie Norris, M. A., who with Mr. R. Nichols, foreman of the Newton Longville band of ringers, was mainly responsible for the inauguration of the Branch nearly 4 years ago, presided, and among those present were Rev. F. E. Robinson, master of the Guild; Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn, Deputy Master; Rev. F. B. Gunnery, Col. P. Broome Giles (High Sheriff of Bucks), Liet-Col W. J. Levi, and the whole of the ringers whose names are given above; with the hon . Secretary of the branch, Mr. F. W. Booth (Emberton).
Col. Giles proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the Lord Bishop for so kindly and at great inconvenience coming to Newton Longville that afternoon to dedicate the two new bells, and for the excellent sermon which he preached to them. That was but one of the many instances of the kindly interest which his lordship took in the welfare of their village churches (applause).
Mr. F. Booth seconded the vote of thanks which was carried with acclamation.
The Secretary's report showed that excellent work had been accomplished by the Branch during the past year. It stated that the annual meeting was held at Newton Longville, whilst other meetings had taken place at Olney, Hanslope and Wing. The gains in membership during the year had been 7 hon. Members, 25 change ringers, 3 life subscribers, and 10 probationers, a total of 39, whilst the towers affiliated to the North Bucks Branch had increased by 3. Eight more peals had been rung during the past year than in the preceding twelve months, and the Master and Deputy Master had each been with them on two occasions.
The balance sheet, also presented by Mr. Booth, showed that the balance of £2 1s 2d with which the branch commenced the year had increased to £4 1s 0½d.
On the motion of Mr. W. Freeman (Olney), seconded by Mr. V. Sear (Bletchley), the report and balance sheet were adopted without discussion; the chairman, however, paid a high tribute to the admirable and energetic manner in which Mr. Booth had discharged the secretarial duties, and to that officer a hearty vote of thanks was passed.
The election of officers resulted as follows:- Committee - Messrs H. Wright (Astwood), F. C. Baker (Bletchley), J. Tompkins (Calverton), Leonard Wright (Chicheley), G. Cook (Clifton Reynes), F. J. Mynard (Emberton), T. Nicholls (Hanslope), F. Vickers (Linslade), J. Gregory (Loughton), W. R. Jolley (Maids Moreton), L. Huckle (Milton Keynes), W. F. Smith (Newport Pagnell), R. Nicholls (Newton Longville), S. H. Smith (Olney), G. Clarke (Shenley), John Robinson (Sherington), E. Yates (Stony Stratford), J. Harding (Swanbourne), J. P. Lee (Tyringham), J. Whitman (Wing), and W. E. Bull (Old Wolverton). The Rev C. Leslie Norris, Rev. J. T. Atthawes, Messrs. H. Sear, S. H. Smith and F. W. Booth were re-elected representatives to the General Guild. The Rev. C. W. J. Old having left the district Colonel P. B. Giles consented to fill the vacancy thus caused. - Mr. F. W. Booth was unanimously re-elected hon. Secretary.
A resolution by Mr. Booth that subscriptions should be paid on or before the date of the annual meeting was seconded by Mr. F. Vickers (Linslade) and adopted.
On the motion of the Secretary, seconded by Mr. W. Freeman (Emberton), the quarterly meetings of the branch were fixed as follows: September, Maids Moreton; December, Old Wolverton; and on the last Saturday in February at Chicheley.
The Chairman proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the Master and Deputy Master for their presence that day, and welcomed also col. Giles and Col. Levi. - The Master having made a brief but happy response, the proceedings closed with a vote of thanks to the Chairman, not only for presiding, but for his hospitality and for his continued interest in the Branch.
During the evening several touches were rung on the bells of the church. Despite the inclemency of the weather the whole of the proceedings were of a distinctly successful and encouraging character.
The Bucks Standard
June 8, 1907