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The Story of Heyford: Four Hundred Years of Bell Ringing V2C3

Bell—ringing in the parish church of St Peter and St Paul goes back at least four centuries. The two oldest bells are dated 1601 and one of these is inscribed ‘Thomas Morgan gave me to the church frank and free.’  Judge Morgan lived in the Manor House at this time. Both bells were cast by a founder called Watts and one is the heaviest bell in the belfry. It is the tenor, weighing over seven hundred-weight: that’s over 784 lbs. or 356 kilos. Another bell was added in 1638, cast by Watts II, and a fourth in 1704 cast by H. Penn. With these four bells it was possible to ring a maximum of 24 changes or sequences (English Change Ringing is based on mathematical sequences rather than musical composition). This was how it remained for 250 years.

Originally there was an external door in the tower where the bell-ringers could gain access. In 1855 there was extensive restoration work in the church which included opening up the tower inside, moving the organ and sealing off the outside door. The heavy wooden door which was removed became the one now hanging as the front entrance to the Old Sun pub. This would be appropriate as the vestry meetings used to adjourn to the Old Sun. Of course, it is still the tradition today for the bell-ringers to finish off every Friday-night ringing practice with a drink in the local – even if, for some reason, ringing hasn’t actually taken place!

During the 1930s the ringers included Mont Smith (John Smith’s grandfather), Fred Browning, Charlie Foster, Bernard Kingston, Harry Eales and Dick Capell. At this time, ringing only usually took place on holy days such as Christmas or Easter; for church services, the bells were just tolled. During the Second World War, bell—ringing generally was banned and only to be used as an alarm for the community. However by 1943 the threat of invasion was considered over and the ban lifted.

A new era and two new bells

This spelled a new era for the Nether Heyford bells. Fred Browning, as the tower captain, recruited and trained a new generation of ringers, including Ted Garrett and Hilda Collins who are still ringing today. Fred also developed handbell ringing at Christmas time. This new enthusiasm was further encouraged by the addition of two new bells after the Reverend Isham Longden, rector from 1897 to 1942, left £100 in his will for a new bell. Even in the 1940s, this provided only a quarter of the amount needed to cast and hang the bells, so an active fund—raising campaign started in the village.

Coffee mornings, whist drives and sales helped to raise £400 and on 21st September 1946, two treble bells were dedicated in church. They were made in London by Gillett and Johnson and hung on a metal frame above the others who were still on a timber frame.

One was called the Victory Bell and there is a list from 1943 of villagers who donated funds towards it. The list includes the rector “Mr” (sic) Mortimer, Harry Allen the verger, Jack Capell the butcher, William Wakefield Whitton, the Kingston family, the Brownings, the Collins’s and the carpenters shop. Most contributed £1, some as much as £5 and some gave ‘two ‘n’ six.’ Now with six bells, the number of possible changes increased dramatically from 24 to 720.

Repairs

In 1979, the four older bells on their wooden frame needed to be rehung and refitted. They had been taken down before but this was the first time in nearly 400 years that they had left the village. They were taken to Taylors of Loughborough and their transport was provided by Jeremy Rice. An eight mile sponsored walk from the church to Flore and Stowe was organised to help raise funds.

Lowering the bells

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The Tenor bell of 1601 bearing the Morgan family crest

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Removing the bells to Loughborough in 1979

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Left to right: Wilf Denny, Bill Collins, Malcolm Chown

Photos lent by Hilda Collins

In 1995, a quarter peal was rung to commemorate the 50th anniversary of VE day. This consisted of 1260 rings non stop and lasted for about an hour. In 1996, the church celebrated the half-century of the treble bells with the Heyford Morris Men, handbell ringers, a lone piper, John Anderson, and a special commemorative service.

Sarah Crontear with thanks to Hilda Collins and Ted Garrett

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Extract from “The Story of Heyford” – Local book series published in the late 1990’s

Volume 2 of 4 | Chapter 3 of 11 | Pages 6 & 7

TheStoryOfHeyford_NetherHeyford_Footer

Heyford’s Historical Heritage  |  How the books were created

Index  |  Covers

The Story of Heyford: King George V Jubilee Celebrations 1935 V2C7

To celebrate the silver jubilee of King George V the Parish Council organised a public tea  for all the parishioners. Charges were sixpence for 14-16 year olds and ninepence for adults. The children were paid for by the school governors, and pensioners and widows were free of charge. All other expenses were covered from the proceeds of a jumble sale organised by the Jubilee committee.

As well as the tea there were sports and games on the Green. Bill Kingston particularly remembers a slow bicycle race between the two sets of goal posts. The idea was to get from one end to the other without touching the ground. Sid Goodman won because he came last. He won a wallet. Tom Eales came second. Bill Kingston came third and won a pipe. He swapped it for Sid’s wallet because each preferred the others prize.

Mr Foster (Reg Fosters father) made a brass candlestick for auction. Dorothy Kingston bought it for £1. 5s which was a lot of money then. However it was a beautiful piece of craftsmanship and she still has it today.

Stephen Ferneyhough

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Extract from “The Story of Heyford” – Local book series published in the late 1990’s

Volume 2 of 4 | Chapter 7 of 11 | Page 18

TheStoryOfHeyford_NetherHeyford_Footer

Heyford’s Historical Heritage  |  How the books were created

Index  |  Covers

 

The Story of Heyford: Village Sports in 1900 V2C6

At the beginning of the 1900s up until the First World War in 1914, Heyford celebrated together at their annual sports day organised by a special sports committee, and at which everyone in the village attended.

The sports field was situated beyond the children’s playground where the houses in Hillside Road / Hillside Crescent now stand. The field belonged to a local farmer who removed his cows for the day, which usually meant a bit of clearing up had to be done first. The date was usually set for Whitsuntide, and a beer tent and tea tent would be organised by the ladies.

The men would probably be dressed in striped jackets, baggy trousers and straw hats, the ladies in blouses, long skirts and large hats, the little girls in ankle length dresses and the little boys in jumpers and knickerbockers.

A local band (probably from Bugbrooke) would begin the proceedings and set the mood, and the races would be mainly for the children and fathers, possibly followed by an egg and spoon race for the mums, although they found it rather difficult to run in long skirts. Winners names would be taken after each race for prize giving at the end of the afternoon.

At the interval the lancers from Weedon Depot would give a display of horsemanship, including the spectacular attraction of tent pegging. A peg much the same as a tent peg but softer would be placed in the ground at the centre point. The lancer would mount his horse with his lance at his side, charge at the peg, picking it up with his lance and raising it above his head amid cheers from an enthusiastic crowd.

Prize giving would be the highlight of the afternoon, and the prizes would be something for the home, possibly linen or cutlery which would be acceptable to any family.

The band would play a finale and everyone would go home tired but well satisfied with the days events, and this day would be talked about for a long time.

Shirley Collins

(Reprinted from issue no 3 of The Prattler, dated January 1978) 

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Extract from “The Story of Heyford” – Local book series published in the late 1990’s

Volume 2 of 4 | Chapter 6 of 11 | Pages 18

TheStoryOfHeyford_NetherHeyford_Footer

Heyford’s Historical Heritage  |  How the books were created

Index  |  Covers

 

 

Extract from The Story of Heyford – Volume 2 of 4 – Page 18

The Story of Heyford: Mammoth Draw in aid of a Heyford Widow V2C4

In the days before the existence of the welfare state the village was a caring community in which neighbours took care of the needs of each other. An example of this is illustrated in the photograph below which was taken in 1911.

On the left of the picture is Bob Browning who was born in Heyford in 1892 and died in 1997. He remembered the photograph being taken and it was he who gave us the information below.

A woman called Mrs Ephrain Collins became widowed with six or eight children. She lived in a stone cottage where the old folks bungalows now stand in ‘the Pound’. A photograph of this cottage appears in volume 1 of ‘The Story of Heyford’. The village held a raffle to raise money for her welfare. Raffle tickets were sold in the surrounding villages and stuck onto the circular board shown in the photograph. The winning ticket was established by firing a shotgun, owned by Mr Stanton Boyes of Upper Heyford, at the board.

The raffle raised around £2,000 which was invested on behalf of Mrs Collins to keep her in rent and coal for the rest of her life.

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Back row: Bob Browning, Mr Sargent, Mrs Roberts, Mrs Violet Browning, Mrs Gwen George, Win Earl, Mrs Sargent, Mr Gibson, David Browning
Gentleman in chair: Mr William Browning
Front Row: Mr Nightingale, Mr Roberts, Ted Sargent, Ted Wright, Mr Hobbs

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Extract from “The Story of Heyford” – Local book series published in the late 1990’s

Volume 2 of 4 | Chapter 4 of 11 | Page 8

TheStoryOfHeyford_NetherHeyford_Footer

Heyford’s Historical Heritage  |  How the books were created

Index  |  Covers

Heyford Bowls Club – September 2019

NetherHeyfordBowlsClub

Indoor

In spite of summer holidays and other commitments, members support for Wednesday short mat bowling sessions has been very good. The friendly Friday evening outdoor triples league has now finished and was enjoyed by all who took part. The indoor short mat league will commence during the winter months. More information on this when it becomes available.

The Men’s Pairs will be played on Saturday 14th September. This produces some very keen competition, therefore it would be nice to have as many names down as possible. There will be two more competitions this year and they will be announced later.

Anyone wishing to play indoor bowling will be made most welcome at our Wednesday bowling sessions. Times for these are – afternoon 1.40pm and evening 7.10pm.

Den Taylor

Outdoor

At the time of writing these notes, Heyford Bowls Club are in grave danger of being relegated from Division 2 of the Northamptonshire Area Monday Night League. With two games to play, two good wins are needed, but our consistent inconsistency has been our downfall.

On the friendly games front the results have been much better; 16 wins out of 26 games with one tied. The season is rapidly drawing to an end, with only the final of the club competitions on Saturday 31 August and Sunday 1st September, and the Gala Day on Sunday 15th September scheduled to be played on our green.

Oh! And of course our final league game on Monday 9th September against Abington.

Geoff Allen – 01327 349909

For more bowls club information please visit our website:

www.heyfordbowlsclub.co.uk

 

Heyford Cricket Club – September 2019

HCC

The season is going well for the adult cricketers at Heyford CC. The 1st XI are still at the top of Division 3 but have had their lead slashed following 3 consecutive defeats against beatable opposition. The 2nd XI remain in second place in Division 8 having beaten the league leaders twice, but recently slipped up against rivals Wellingborough OGs 2nd XI in the battle for the three promotion spaces. It looks like being an exciting climax to the season!

Junior Cricket ended strongly, with our 40 All Stars enjoying a water balloon cricket activity at their last session, and the U11s winning their first game! It was fantastic to see the improvement of the children during the coaching sessions, well done to all the children and coaches at the Club for an enjoyable summer. We will be in touch shortly about plans for winter nets and cricket in 2020.

Thank you to everyone who came to our Fun Day at the Playing Fields in June, and
the Golf Day at Whittlebury Hall in July. These events raised a huge amount of
money for the Club and will go a long way towards paying for a new roller for the square, providing some more seating for spectators and practice equipment for both adults and juniors.

Patrons and Sponsors Day – 14th September:
We will be hosting a Patrons and Sponsors Day on 14th September, to thank all our patrons and sponsors for their generous support and financial contributions to the Club. The 1st XI will be playing at home against Wollaston (midday start), and we will be putting on some extra tea and a glass of bubbles for everyone who can make it along! Tea is usually served at about 3pm, and the bar will be open all afternoon. We hope you can join us for some or all of the afternoon.

Bonus Ball:
A full list of Bonus Ball winners can be found on the ‘News’ pages of our website. The June and July 2019 winners were as follows:

27/07/19 – 3 – Ceri John 29/06/19 – 27 – Jamie Pardon
20/07/19 – 32 – Adam Linnell 22/06/19 – 11 – Chris Peck
13/07/19 – 12 – Ray & Carol Cory 15/06/19 – 29 – Dave Livermore
06/07/19 – 9 – Colin Gillespie 08/06/19 – 43 – Adam Linnell
01/06/19 – 42 – Chris Andrews

Thank you to everyone who plays. If you would like to support the Club for £1 per
week, but also stand the chance of winning £25 each week then please get in touch
for more information.

Forthcoming Home Fixtures:
7th September – 2nd XI v Long Buckby (13:00)
14th September – 1st XI v Wollaston (12:00)
21st September – 2nd XI v Irchester (13:00)

More details about Heyford Cricket Club can be found on our website: www.heyfordcricket.co.uk or via social media where we can be found on both Facebook and Twitter.

If you would like to get in touch you can also email us at: heyfordcricket@hotmail.co.uk

Website: www.heyfordcricket.co.uk
Download the app:
heyfordcc.teamapp.com
Facebook:
www.facebook.com/HeyfordCC
Twitter:
twitter.com/@HeyfordCC
Email:
heyfordcricket@hotmail.co.uk

At Heyford we try to mix good cricket with good fun. We play to win but we always try to play fair and we hope that all our guests will feel welcome.

Address:
The Playing Fields, Middle Street, Nether Heyford, Northamptonshire NN7 3NL

Location:
If you are approaching Heyford from the M1 (Junction 16), on the roundabout take the 1st local exit towards Upper Heyford. After about 600 metres as you enter Upper Heyford turn left (signposted Nether Heyford and Bugbrooke) Follow this narrow country lane for about 0.5 miles, until you cross a small bridge over the river. The entrance track to the Playing Fields is on your left about 30 yards past this bridge, just before you enter the village.

 

Letters: Eileen Drake – September 2019

Eileen Drake

Sadly after battling a long illness Eileen passed away in her sleep on 7th July 2019.

Having lived in the village since 1976 she made many friends, many of whom gave help and support throughout her long illness.

She will be sadly missed by myself, son Ian, daughter Joanne, daughters in law Sarah and Rachel and her lovely grand-daughters Violet and Emerald.

Many thanks to those who made donations to Friends of Dantre Hospital and the Lewis Foundation.

Graham