Dronfield Bells

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Ringing trip, Richmond and North Yorkshire

Saturday 9th April 2011



This sounded like a shorter trip again - all the towers would be in Yorkshire, but Yorkshire is a large county and when the mileage was checked it turned out to be over 200 miles. With petrol prices rising fast it looked as though the costs would be high too.  .


Enquiries  re the coach  got off to a bad start. It seemed like everyone else wanted to go somewhere on the 9th April. However the coach owners came up trumps  and the coach was booked, albeit at a much higher price than last year.


Nevertheless, our usual supporters were not put off and a nearly full coach started out from Dronfield at 8-15 on what promised to be a very pleasant day weather wise.


The first stop was to be the MOTO services recently opened at Wetherby . This was a good stopping point at just the right time with all the required services. Also a good meeting place for those who were travelling independently.


Our first ringing stop was to be at Richmond. We needed to leave the A1 at Catterick, but first had to get through the major road works around  Leeming. Our return was planned to be through this area, using minor roads which bridged the A1. We spotted the bridges we intended to use, and it was clear these were not available to us - not there at all!


Nevertheless we arrived in Richmond at 10-45 as planned. An interesting town with it's large market square, castle, Georgian Theatre and Green Howards Museum. The local ringers had asked that we ring as late as possible to avoid complaints, so we arranged to meet at St Mary's church at  11-45, thus giving us an hour to  explore the town, castle and river. Ringing was from 11-45 to 12-15.on the 8 bells (tenor 11cwt.) The local ringers put on drinks for us prior to our ringing which was very welcome.


The Church  of St Mary dates from 1137 and the bell tower and the font from 1399. The Harrison and Harrison organ is one of the finest parish church organs in the country. The 16 oldest choir stalls were brought from nearby Easby Abby and have carved misericords. 'Ruth's Window', a memorial window in the south aisle was  made by Alan Davis of Whitby. St Mary's contains the Chapel of the The Green Howards


It is only a short ride along the Swale valley to the busy market town of Northallerton. The town is the administrative centre for North Yorkshire and has many old and interesting buildings along High Street. This was to be our lunch stop, with ringing on the 10 bells (tenor 17 1/2 cwt) of All Saints church just before we left. Plenty of choices for food here, from Betty's Café to takeaways and a really good fish and chip shop. Suitably refreshed we all gathered at the church at 2-30 and enjoyed a ring on the pleasant bells. The original church was founded by St Paulinus (d. 644) and  replaced by a stone building in the 9th century. The tower fell down and was rebuilt in 1420. The chancel was rebuilt and the interior refurbished in the late 19th century.  There are a number of items by Robert Thompson of Kilburn (the "Mouseman").


A short distance to the south lies the village of Ainderby Steeple and St Helen's Church. (6 bells, tenor7cwt.) stands on a mound at the eastern entrance to the village. Its tower, visible for miles around, has  given the place the name of Ainderby with the Steeple, but there's no steeple there!


We had planned to travel to the next village via Leeming and cross the A1 by one of the minor roads, however the bridge we were to use had been dismantled so a detour was made via Bedale.


BurnestonChurch is the only church in Britain to be dedicated in the sole name of St Lambert, who lived around 635-705 AD, and became Bishop of Maastricht. A 17th century school founded by Matthew Robinson, vicar of Burneston, was housed in the end section of the almshouse buildings on the square opposite the church. The Robinson family's three-tiered pew dominates the north aisle, it dates from about 1625. St. Lambert's church has 6 bells (tenor 8cwt). The ringing chamber is accessed round the back of the organ. The bells are in a wood frame with plain bearings and are bit hard work but ok.


The final village is only 3 miles down a country lane and one or two decided to walk. The rest of the party continued by coach to Kirklington which boasts a large village green. We had arranged with the Black Horse Inn to take tea and coffee here prior to our journey home . This allowed a little extra time for those who were walking.

Kirklington village is centred around its village green. The oldest buildings are the church of St Michael the Archangel, the once moated hall, built in 1571 by Sir Christopher Wandesforde, and the old Academy. There is a ghost associated with the Hall known as The Grey Lady. There is an active team of ringers here who also ring at Burneston, but these 6 bells (tenor 9 cwt) are much easier to ring.


We left Kirklington at 6-00. We had heard that there were to be road closures on the A1 so our driver took a very devious route to avoid possible hold ups. Taking us along country roads, through  Topcliffe to the A1 and the road home.


It had been a lovely day all day. Another splendid trip.





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