The Dronfield Ringing Trip for 2009 took place on Saturday, April 4th. We travelled by coach to the area around Bedford calling at
Sandy Sandy is a small town in east Bedfordshire which nestles close to the Greensand Hills. It lies on the path of the old Great North Road between London and Edinburgh where it crosses the River Ivel The town is famous for producing the Bedfordshire clanger, a sweet and savoury pastry traditionally eaten by land workers in the area. St. Swithun's church is the burial place of Sir Frederick Liddell, whose sister Alice provided the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.
Sandy is the headquarters of RSPB their offices are surrounded by over 100 acres of woodland and formal gardens criss-crossed with nature trails with hides for observing birds and wildlife.
Ringing at St Swithin's Church. 6 bells, 12cwt.
One of the original villages now making up the new town of Letchworth., the worlds first garden city. The church of St. Nicholas is now incorporated into the parish o St. George and St Nicholas with the main activities being held in the more modern church of St. George.
Ringing at St. Nicholas Church. 8 bells, 9cwt.
Hitchin Market is currently open on Tuesday and Saturday with a wide range of stalls from fruit and vegetables to carpets, clothes and household implements.
In the centre of Hitchin on the banks of the river Hiz the church building is a central focus for visitors to the town. There has been a church on this location ever since the year 792 when King Offa of Mercia founded a Benedictine community. The church of today is mainly of the 14th and 15th century, but the foundations of a Saxon church lie under the floor of the Nave
Carved on the altar rail is the hallmark of the carver Robert Thompson.
Ringing at St Mary's Church. 10 bells, 29cwt
The side aisles of St Nicholas church represent the second stage in the extension of the church. The south aisle was begun in 1220, about forty years after the completion of the original building; the one to the north was begun some thirty years later, and was made of four bays.
It is a large church for what was that a small mediaeval village of few inhabitants.
One original role of the building was that of defence. Under threat of invasion or attack, the church could become a stronghold into which the inhabitants of the village, together with their possessions (including livestock) could come for security.
Built in the first half of the fifteenth century, the tower is 57 feet in height.
Ringing at St. Nicholas Church, 8 bells, 16cwt
Of Anglo-Saxon origin, the first settlement was called 'Aemethyll', which literally means either 'ant-heap' or 'ant infested hill'. Amphill, lies on the Greensand Ridge in fair countryside. It has a variety of beautiful old buildings, many of them 17-18C and some Tudor.
The ironstone church, on the edge of open hill-country, has Decorated Gothic arcades and chancel arch. There is an impressive monument to Richard Nicolls, whose family lived at Ampthill Park in the 17C. Nicolls took over New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1664 and renamed it New York after his patron the Duke of York, but at the Battle of Solway Bay in 1672 a Dutch cannonball killed him. The ball is in his monument.
Ringing at St Andrew's Church, 8 bells, 13cwt
Then travelled home again up the M1
Click on the pictures below to see them in a larger size.