Friday, 9 May 2014

Going like the clappers, or; the bells of Thrapston. With a footnote for any Americans who stumble across these notes.

As is our wont, this morning we wandered off up to the local metropolis, in this case Thrapston, and directed our feet to the local church, St. James.

Not from any particular religious conviction but because they tell the story of the people of the area and frequently have interesting graffiti. Having perused the more interesting memorials,

not even sure who lay beneath this one but the carving is really impressive, we set off to circumnavigate the church and came upon these two chaps, Dennis on the left and Frank in the checked shirt, posing with a couple of clappers.

They had just collected them from Taylor's bell foundry in Loughborough, one of the only two bell foundries left, (the other being Whitechapel), where they had been refurbished, and were preparing to refit them in their bells. They were accompanied by two ladies, Chris and Alison, who seemed to have been a bit camera shy.
To cut a long story short, I was invited to clamber up into the dizzy heights of the belfry and observe the refitting. Ignoring my terror of anything higher than a pair of Cuban heels I ascended to the balcony, then wound my way up a spiral staircase and finally scrambled up a fixed ladder into the bell chamber. There was not a lot of space amongst the eight bells of the peal but here is the only pictorial record of the refitting.

In case there is any doubt what they were about,

here are two of the eight bells.

That's Chris, in the purple hidden, in the bell. After the final nut was secured Chris, Frank and Dennis posed for an historical record of the event.

I was honoured to have been present and to have had the opportunity to record it on camera.

Descending to the ground:
In the nave is a memorial to John Washington, great, great, great uncle to the more famous George, first president of the U.S.A. It has been claimed that the stars and stripes on the crest are the origin of the flag of the U.S.A.
You never know what you will find when you wander off for a stroll.

Watch this space........

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