The bells at All Saints' Pontefract were augmented to eight in 1905. The first peal on the new bells was rung the same year, and I thought it appropriate to celebrate the 100th anniversary with a replica peal. Researching the history became quite a task, however, as the information was not readily available. One day I would like to delve into it further, but my brief research so far has yielded some interesting facts.
On 31st January 1905, the faculty described the work as being to add two additional bells (bearing certain dedications), to take out the existing bell frame and replace it with a new steel frame, and to recast the tenor bell. The church's annual report for 1905 subsequently recorded that the work (by Taylors) had cost £349 12s 4d. On 11th April 1905 a service of dedication of the bells took place. It was clearly well attended, as the collection produced £4 10s, about four times the average for a usual Sunday service.
'Bell News' reports the first peal on the new bells to have been rung
on Saturday 20th May 1905: 5088 Kent Treble Bob Major, in 3 hours
18 minutes, composed by A Knights and conducted by T Barker.
1905 Peal Details
The peal was attributed to the Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers, but it does not appear in the YACR's Annual Report for 1904-05. We did ask informally if we could submit the peal to the YACR some 100 years late, to be told (not surprisingly!) that this was not possible. Neil Donovan commented: "It's interesting to note that it was credited to the YACR in 'Bell News' but failed to be recorded in the YACR Report. Perhaps somebody forgot to submit it, or submitted it late, or didn't pay their peal fee, or had failed to pay their subscription? Nothing changes, we have the same problems today!" One retrospective correction to the YACR records was made, however. Simon Reading, the Peal Secretary, informed us of three earlier peals at All Saints', two of which were on the six bells, but one of which claimed to be of Kent TB Major in 1901. Presumably this was actually rung at St Giles Pontefract, so the YACR records have been amended
Since 1905, around 191 peals have been rung on the bells. Their relative lightness, easy handling and pleasant tone led to them being known locally as the 'Musical Box', although this nickname is probably only known by older ringers these days.
To celebrate the exact 100th anniversary of the first peal on the eight, a peal was rung on the evening of Friday 20th May 2005, with Kent again being chosen as the method. However, Arthur Knights composed more than one 5088 of Kent, and we could not be sure which one was used 100 years ago, so a more modern composition was used instead. 2005 Peal Details