Frithelstock Bell Ringers

Committee  Tower Captain
Deputy Tower Captain
Terry Warrington (T: 01805 625235 & )
Chris Ham
Greg Ball
Heathcliffe Pettifer

Recent Events

Marking out

Photo © Richard Joseph
Cutting the initials 

Photo © Richard Joseph
Work in  progress

Photo © Richard Joseph

Photo © Richard Joseph

  Hear the Bells
In July 2010, a short video clip was made – taken without any extra lighting and while work was being carried out. Click on this link to hear our bells! YouTube

Photo © Richard Joseph

Frithelstock Bell Ringers – ‘Planks for the memories . . .’
We discovered the planks on the first floor were rotten and needed to be replaced. But first, one of the largest bird nests had to be removed (see the three small photos on left and below).
This was made more complicated as the floor above (and the one below) was too weak to take the weight of the volunteer clearance team. A light weight skip was constructed, and by pulling this up through a hatchway level to the lower floor, it was possible to rake the huge amount of sticks and detritus into it: a very slow and dusty task!

      Photo © Richard Joseph                Photo © Richard Joseph            Photo © Richard Joseph
The birds’ nest rubbish            A wider view – into a corner        The skip being lowered

The new planks are 2 inches thick and 12 inches wide, and as these are predicted to last well over 75 years, it was suggested that sponsors could have their initials carved on the floor. This idea has been received very well.
Spaces have been selling very quickly – we have already sold single lots and blocks of 5 bought by families who would like to be associated with the church tower. We have also accepted requests by families for initials of their loved ones to be included. But it has also been suggested that we take our time in obtaining sponsors as many people have fond memories of the tower and church.
We are proposing that for £5 you can have your initials marked on the plank – and that we create a ‘map’ of the floor which will be framed and displayed for everyone to see. This ‘map’ showing the location of initials and names will be sited in the tower is being prepared.
For more information please call: Terry Warrington on 01805 625235, or Greg Ball 01805 623613, or Mark Goldman 01805 622518, or any of the bell ringers.
Work is in hand (November 2010) as the three photographs on left show.

You can still have your initials included
If you would like yours, or your relative’s, initials to be added, please get in touch with any bell ringer or write to  with the details.
New lights have also been installed in the stairwell, and extra lighting and a power supply on the first floor and in the bell chamber.
This work now makes the tower a lot safer for the public to explore and events are planned to open the tower to the public.

         Photo © Richard Joseph
  Looking up the tower’s steps     and the ropes in play!

   Now read the history . . . read on

The Revival – the events that paved the way for ‘Planks for the memories. . .!

In recent years, numerous conversations about restoring the bells have taken place in the Clinton Arms between Terry WarringtonAndy and Janice Gist. This is not surprising as the Clinton Arms has been the regular haunt for a local team of campanologists after the strenuous efforts of practice. Sadly the pub has now closed.
Arising from these discussions, the idea that the bells might be restored to working order was reached. Enthusiasm grew and in the 2006 Christmas holiday, 
Mark GoldmanLes Billig, and Greg Ball joined the group of enthusiasts.
The group had two major problems to overcome. Were the bells in working order? And who could form a resident team? Of course they would need some training – and there are no schools or courses in the locality.
Terry telephoned 
Andy Gist of St Giles, to ask for help and advice. He suggested Hilary and Dave Kent, who teach the Langtree Ringers, and who ring from two churches: one at Langtree, the other at Peters Marland.  Hilary kindly agreed to help teach us.
Sid Adams, who is the Church Warden and Tower Captain, was then approached to explore the next step. The word spread and we were soon joined by Roger Hunkin, Gareth Chanter, and Chris Ham.
The first, and a major step, had to be the clearance of rubbish deposited over many years by rooks and other birds in the tower. This was not an an easy task as there space is at a premium.  But enthusiasm prevailed and over 100 bags containing mainly rook’s excrement and nesting materials. Once cleared, it was necessary to prevent the rooks re-entering the tower otherwise this work would have to be repeated.  Wire mesh was welded to the inside of the windows which successfully prevented any further incursions. Appropriate timbers have been treated and all moving parts oiled [see photo] and finally new ropes, kindly donated by Week St Mary, Tetcott, were fitted.
But before any ringing could take place a survey had to be made which was done by James Clarke. Upon a verbal `Yes, all’s well’, the enthusiasts immediately held their first practice session on the 14 August. Tuition and training now takes place on alternate Tuesdays.   Read about the bells.

About the Tower
The west tower is 72 feet high to the parapet, diagonal buttressed at the base only. The rectangular stair-turret is to the east end of the north face, its sloping top is level with the top of the parapet, and the belfry openings are square-headed with two lights, the opening  on the east is set in the centre of the outer face, not in the centre of the inner. There are small obelisk pinnacles. Ground floor ringing room. The foundations of the transeptal tower of the Priory church can be traced on the south side of the west end of the ruins, and in 1792, when the ruins were painted by the Rev John Swete, dated 1792, much of the tower arch was still standing.
A ring of six bells, hung for ringing in an oak frame by Harry Stokes, 1911, with a hoisted pit for the treble added by him later above the present second pit. Elm headstocks, plain bearings.

Earlier events

Photo © Richard Joseph

Photo © Richard Joseph


Torridge Valley Jubilee Cup 2009

Photo © Richard Joseph

Celebrating after ringing to mark the wedding, in August (2014),
of Miss Olga Goncharona to Mr Mark Washington. 

New Weather Vane
After many years without one, the Church Tower had a new weather vane installed (August 2011).  Donated by a parishioner, it replaces the one used (it is said) for target practice many, many years ago.

  Photo © Richard Joseph  Photo © Richard Joseph

But it did not last long.

The Three Towers Bell Ringing Competition
Many residents heard church bells ringing on Saturday 13 August 2011 for a Three Tower Bell Ringing Competition was held in Monkleigh, Torrington and Frithelstock. Thirteen teams came from all parts of Devon to take part.
Significantly for Frithelstock it was the first competition in 62 years. The event was a fitting achievement for the local team of enthusiastic bell ringers who laboured long and hard to get the bells back into full working order. Terry Warrington, Tower Captain at the Church of St Mary and St Gregory commented, ‘Everybody enjoyed the day, with over 80 competitors, it was a very competitive but friendly day. We haven’t seen anything like it. This was our first competition for sixty-two years and it marked the centenary of the Harry Stokes Frame, in which all the bells are installed.
Competitors rang at each church for two trophies, an Open Challenge and Local Challenge. To mark the occasion, the Frithelstock Bell Ringers organised two very special trophies – a Belt for the Open Competition – reviving a very old traditional trophy for bell ringers.
The Open Section was won by Kingsteignton (27½ points), with Egg Buckland (33¾ points) and Exeter St Petrock (36 points) runners up. Monkleigh A won the Local Section with Littleham and Monkleigh B runners up.
 Frithelstock Bell Ringers commissioned two special trophies – a leather belt for the Open Section and a plaque on which a bell sculpted out of slate by Gabriel Hummerstone and sponsored by the Clinton Arms was featured.
Mr Sid Adams, the previous Tower Captain generously donated a new cup – the Adams Gerry memorial Trophy for the Best Treble. [See Photo Gallery] The hosts at Torrington and Monkleigh also awarded trophies.

Click here to see Photo Gallery

Competition results
Buckland Brewer (9 April)

Bradford A
Peters Marland
Bradford B
Peters Marland


The figures above are errors and the team with the lowest total is judged the winner.
Scroll down to see past results Certificates and Trophies.

Past Competition Results

The Frithelstock Bell Ringers entered two teams for the Torrington Ringing Competition and made history in the Junior Novice Competition by having an all Frithelstock team. We came 2nd in the Junior Novice (Gareth Chanter, Tania Wickham, Roger Hunkin, Les Billig, Chris Ham, Terry Warrington) and 2nd in the Novice (Robin Canniford, Tania Wickham, Zoe Bradshaw, Dave Kent, Gareth Chanter, Terry Warrington); a good day for all concerned.

There have been other successes too, as the certificates shown below prove. No doubt there will be more.



Little Torrington 31 July 2010

Torridge Valley, 25 July 2009

Shebbear, 8 August 2009

Tamar Valley, 26 September

Last updated 19 March 2017