Bell-ringing at St Giles Church
Bell-ringing at St Giles has a long tradition. We know that St Giles had a peal of 6 bells that were cast in 1725 and that metal from three existing bells was in part used to make them. Our current peal of 8 bells were cast in 1873 and hung in a wooden frame. The Tenor is just under 13cwt.
In October 2007 the bells were overhauled by Nicholson Engineering. New bearings, new clapper bearings and new pulleys were fitted to all the bells and the hang and clapper throws of some bells adjusted to improve the striking. The Tenor was 1/8th turned. The bells are now a delight to ring.
The previous major work on the bells was in 1961 when these same bells were taken away for tuning and then re-hung by Taylors in a new steel frame with new fittings. The ringers, The St Giles Society of Change Ringers, have successfully recruited and
trained a number of new ringers in the last few years, numbers are healthy and individual and overall capability is increasing. The bells are rung for service twice on Sundays with Quarter Peals attempted normally on the first Sunday evening of the month. Thursday practices are well attended with regular visitors from neighbouring towers swelling our number and enabling plenty of support for the less experienced and the chance to stretch ourselves with various Surprise major methods.
The ringers are affiliated to both the Guildford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers and The Surrey Association of Church Bell Ringers. Ashtead has long enjoyed a tradition of skilled ringing in the area and is popular with peal bands.
Richard Trueman, 18/08/2008