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Ap-peal of ringing church bells returns to historic St Edmund’s

Posted onPosted on 19th Jun

The sound of church bells are gracing the village of Mansfield Woodhouse once again thanks to the efforts of a novice bellringer and community group Men in Sheds, writes Rachel Jones.

The bells at St Edmund’s Church had stood silent since before the pandemic, explained new tower captain Annette Harvie.

Then the Southwell and Nottingham Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers got involved. And following essential maintenance work by Tom Doughty and Richard Wolfgang, of the guild, it offered lessons to eight locals.

Annette said she jumped at the opportunity to learn the ropes of bellringing.

“A member from the guild called the church and asked if the bells rang, but there was no band of ringers for the tower,” she added.

“So he asked if he could arrange lessons for some local people after minor maintenance of the bells.

“An advert went up at church and in the Woodhouse Warbler local paper for people who want to learn to ring the bells.

“In September 2023 lessons started, and we now have a band of eight locals learning the art of bell ringing.”

Since her promotion to tower captain, Annette has been working to improve safety and enhance the experience of bellringing by working with Men in Sheds Mansfield, a group that is based at Ransom Wood Business Park, to improve their ringing boxes.

“I contacted Men in Sheds because one of our issues in the tower was our ringing boxes, boxes that younger and short people need to stand on to reach the ropes for ringing.

“It needed two people to move our old boxes around; they were just too big.

“I asked Men in Sheds to see if they could make smaller, safe stackable ringing boxes for our tower.

“After listening to our needs they came back to us with a prototype and boxes that safely stack together without moving when we are standing on top of them.”

Annette hopes that the improvements to the bell tower and bell ringing will have a positive impact on the wider community.

“Church bells are the most historic sound many of us hear,” she added. “Their main function is to call worshippers to church for a communal service, but they also ring out for joy on special occasions such as a wedding, or toll for a funeral service.

“To have the bells ringing again at St Edmund’s is just part of a long history as bells have been rung here since 1698.”

Anyone interested in learning how to ring at St Edmund’s Church should email Annette Harvie at [email protected]

Men in Sheds is a community for men to socialise, learn, and create to combat loneliness. Many sheds provide practical activities, including woodworking, electronics, and repairs. Men in Sheds Mansfield run sessions at Ransom Wood Business Park, from Monday to Thursday. To find out more information about the group go to