St Peter’s – East Bridgford
The Parish of East Bridgford, Kneeton and Flintham
The main feature remaining of 13th century church is the chancel. In the 14th century the octagonal pillar, chancel arch, side aisles and south porch were built. In 18th century the tower was rebuilt.
Sung Communion is every Sunday at 9.15am except for the second Sunday when there is a “Pancakes and Praise Service at 10.00am.
There is a monthly sung Evensong on the third Sunday every month and a Book of Common Prayer communion at 10am every Wednesday.
St Peter's church has a robed choir.
There are a variety of additional services at Festival times during the year including Easter, St Peter's Feast Sunday, Harvest, Remembrance and Christmas.
St Peter's has the following features available in Church:
- Toilet with disabled access
- Step free access suitable for wheelchairs
- Hearing loop/PA system
- Kitchen and refreshments
St. Peter’s has a ring of 8 bells, the tenor weighing just over 11 cwt.
Our main source of information about the bells is the History of East Bridgford written by the Reverend Du Boulay Hill (1850 – 1938). Rector of St. Peter’s for many years, he led a strong team of ringers after the great war.
In 1553 there were 3 bells.
The 5th (old 3rd) is the oldest bell. It was recast in 1631 and bears the inscription ‘Jesus be our spede’.
The second oldest bell is the 3rd (old treble). This was cast in 1649, the year the civil war ended. Du Boulay Hill comments that this was a curious time to be chosen if it were a new addition. It may have been East Bridgford’s way of showing its relief for the cessation of the war.
In the 17th century bellringing became a fashionable pursuit for many of the country gentry and this is probably when the bells were augmented to 6. Churchwardens’ accounts of 1753 mention 6 ‘bel strings’.
During the 18th century the tower became dangerous and had to be rebuilt in 1778. The 4th, 7th and 8th bells were recast. The inscription on the 4th is ‘Glory be to God on high’. The inscription on the 8th is ‘I to the church the living call and to the grave do summons all’. Also at this time the bells were rehung in a new frame. Unlike now the bells were rung on the ground floor. Church records of 1783 show a payment of 4d. for a ‘fut stay for grate bel’. Now in the floor of the ringing chamber, it shows ringing it was a heavy job.
Du Boulay Hill records that when he started ringing the bells were not in good condition and they were rehung in a new frame in 1914. In 1919 the first peal (5,040 changes) was rung on the rehung bells. It took 2 hours 50 minutes.
In 1963 the bells were rehung on new ball bearings by Taylors of Loughborough.
In 2002 the bells were refurbished, and two new bells added, a treble and a 2nd, installed by Hayward Mills to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The money for the treble was raised from grants, donations, a Tower Open Day, and a Garden Coffee morning held at Daffodil Cottage, the home of Felicity Jay. It bears the inscription ‘East Bridgford Golden Jubilee ER II’. The 2nd was funded from interest on a bequest made by a brother and sister who were vergers of the church for many years. They are commemorated in the inscription ‘In Memoriam Leslie and Doris Hand’.
Rev Du Boulay Hill donated a fine set of handbells. They were renovated a few years ago and a small band meets regularly to play tunes on them.
The tenor bell was called the ‘sermon bell’. It was rung up and down for 5 mins. before a service at which a sermon was to be preached.
It was also the bell which was tolled when someone died: 3 strokes for a man, 2 for a woman, 1 for a child. These were struck 3 times followed by a number of strokes indicating the age of the deceased.
On 5th November, Guy Fawkes Day, the bells were fired i.e. rung in unison. This custom was briefly revived in the 1980s. As late as the 1970s the bells were also fired after weddings, but this custom has fallen into disuse, probably because it is thought to be bad for the tower fabric.
The 6th bell is also called the ‘pancake bell’. It was rung at 11 am on Shrove Tuesday by the oldest apprentice – probably the signal to stop work for religious duty. Du Boulay Hill records that it was still regarded by the schoolchildren as the signal for a holiday for the rest of the day.