The Bells were installed at St. Giles during 2012. The band of St. Giles ringers, all novices when we started in October 2011, practised under the guidance of experienced local ringers.

The Tower Community at St. Giles includes the following:

Tower Captain: Nick Wilkins
Deputy Tower Captain:Vicky Watson  Secretary: Ros Scarlett
Treasurer: Carl Scarlett
Publicity Officer: Jacqui Moore
Steeple Keeper: Nick Wilkins

Ringers:   Nick Wilkins; Carl, Ros, Adam and Helen Scarlett; Jacqui and Alex Moore; Lesley Barclay; Anne Taylor; Liz Brown, Audrey and Bill Allaway; Vicky Watson

We ring each Sunday morning from 9.30 to 10.00am and for one Sunday evening Service per month, usually after a Sunday afternoon ringing practice.

If anyone is interested in finding out more about bell ringing and/or would like to have a go they should contact Nick Wilkins on 01689 830844

See also Installing the St. Giles Bells.

Recent Peals and notable Quarter Peals rung at St. Giles

Peal rung on Friday 27th December 2019

Whilst probably unknown to many Farnborough Parishioners, John Barnes, a very eminent ringer and known countrywide and overseas in ringing circles sadly died in October just short of his 86th birthday. John previously taught at Tubbenden School and sat on the Central Council of Church Bellringers for over 50 years having been elected a Life Member a few years ago. The CCCB is the ringing equivalent of the Church Synod. John resided in Leamington Avenue and mainly rang in London at St Martin in the Fields and at St Martin’s, Chelsfield. That said, since the bells were installed at St Giles, John did sometimes ring here particularly for weekday funerals and other occasions when I was still working and unable to personally attend. As John lived in the Parish I thought it entirely appropriate that a full peal be rung to celebrate his life before the end of 2019 and this we did on Friday 27th December. The peal included seven different methods of 720 changes each so that we could reach the minimum number of 5040 changes to qualify as a peal.’

Society of Royal Cumberland Youths Farnborough, Kent St Giles Friday, 27th December 2019 in 2hrs 22mins (Tenor 2–2–26 in E) 5040 Surprise Minor 7 methods:

720 each Bourne, York, Durham, Norwich, Beverley, Surfleet, Cambridge

1 Nicholas Wilkins
2 J Richard Anthony
3 Jacqueline M Barlow
4 Anne M Anthony
5 Peter J Blight
6 Paul J Flavell (C)
Celebrating the life of John S Barnes, long standing resident of Leamington Avenue in this parish.

Peal Rung on Friday 8th March 2019

Kent County Association Farnborough, Kent St Giles Friday, 8 March 2019 in 2h 19 (2–2–26 in E) 5040 Treble Dodging Minor (7m)  

One extent each of Ipswich, Bourne, Norwich, Beverley, Surfleet, Cambridge S and Kent TB.

1 Robert J Lane
2 E Lesley Barclay
3 Jacqueline M Barlow
4 Maureen A Poole
5 David R Finch
6 Nicholas Wilkins (C)  

Ringing the Changes - Tuesday 19th February 2019 - half term week

Nick Wilkins organised a peal to include two young ringers, Amber from Westerham and Jamie from Brasted. This was rung after churchyard working party duties had been completed. Details are as follows...  

Kent County Association Farnborough, Kent St Giles the Abbot Tuesday, 19 February 2019 in 2hrs 18mins (Tenor 2cwts-2qtrs-26lbs in E) 5040 changes of Minor (4 different methods)

One extent each of Buxton & St Clements, two extents of Kent TB and three extents of Plain Bob.

1 Catherine M Lewis
2 Amber T F C Cusick
3 Jacqueline M Barlow
4 James D Austin
5 Terence V Barnard
6 Nicholas Wilkins (C) First Minor -

Sunday 11th November 2018 - Remembrance Day

In the morning the bells were rung between 9:20 and 10:00 with, unusually, all seven bells being rung together. In the afternoon there was a special peal with the bells rung open to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice. .

Kent County Association Farnborough, Kent St Giles the Abbot Sunday, 11 November 2018 (2–2–26 in E). 100 Rounds and Call Changes Half Muffled

1 Audrey Allaway 
2 William Allaway
3 Anne Taylor
4 Alex Moore
5 Jacqui Moore
6 Liz Brown
7 Nicholas Wilkins (C)

Bells rung between 9.20 & 10.00am

  Kent County Association Farnborough, Kent St Giles the Abbot Sunday, 11 November 2018 in 2h 27mins (2–2–26 in E) 5040 Minor (4 methods)

1 Nicholas Wilkins (C)
2 Ann M Saunders
3 Ian G Mills
4 E Lesley Barclay
5 Jonathan L Fry
6 Martin J Turner

Two extents each of Kent TB, Cambridge S, Plain Bob and one extent of St Clements CB Minor

Peal Rung on Tuesday 23rd October 2018

Kent County Association Farnborough, Kent St Giles The Abbot Tuesday, 23 October 2018 in 2h 15mins (2–2–26 in E) 5040 Doubles (1principle and 5 methods)

1 extent of Stedman, 9 extents of Grandsire and 8 extents each of Reverse Canterbury, St Simon’s, St Martin’s and Plain Bob Doubles.

1 Terence V Barnard
2 Amber T F C Cusick
3 Jacqueline M Barlow
4 Nicholas Wilkins (Conductor)
5 Catherine M Lewis
6 Robert J Lane

First peal - 2. Circled tower - 4. The photo shows the band, clockwise from
front right, treble to tenor.

Peal Rung on Tuesday 14th August 2018

Kent County Association Farnborough, Kent St Giles the Abbot
Tuesday, 14 August 2018 in 2h 19 (2–2–26 in E) 5040 Surprise Minor (7m) 

One extent each of London, Wells, Bourne, Norwich, Beverley, Surfleet and Cambridge S Minor

1 Rupert J Cheeseman
2 Margaret E Oram
3 Jacqueline M Barlow
4 Phillip R J Barnes
5 Ian H Oram
6 Nicholas Wilkins (C)

This was a sponsored peal for the St Giles supported Charities, during July and August, of the Church Mission Society and London City Mission


Maths in the Belfry

Normally bells are rung down the scale from the lightest (treble) to heaviest (tenor) and this is known as ‘rounds’, and can be written down as 1 (treble) 2 3 4 5 6 (tenor). We have six bells that we ring down the scale at Farnborough ignoring the clock bell and service/funeral bell. When ringing we have regard to the number of the bell, not its note. Ringing usually starts and ends with rounds and the first variations of this are known as call changes, where the conductor calls a change such as 3 to 1, which means bell three follows bell one and the order becomes 1 3 2 4 5 6. The next call could be 5 to 2, giving rise to 1 3 2 5 4 6. A further call of 5 to 3 would bring up the musical change of 1 3 5 2 4 6. This means the odd bells ring first and then the even bells and this change is known as ‘Queens’.

The 2-2-26 in E indicates the weight of the tenor bell (2cwts, 2qtrs and 26lbs) and it’s note, E.

On Remembrance Sunday 2018 an appropriate number of call changes was 100, being the centenary of the end of WW1. ‘Half Muffled’ means that every other sound of the bell is muffled. This is achieved by fixing a leather muffle to one side only of the clapper of each bell so that when the bell swings in one direction it sounds normal (or ‘open’) and when the bell swings in the other direction the side of the clapper that has the leather muffle on it hits the sound bow of the bell and the resultant sound is reduced/muffled.

After morning half muffled ringing on Remembrance Sunday we rang a full peal starting about 12.30pm with the bells ‘open’ (ie not half muffled) to celebrate the centenary of the end of WW1. This took 2hrs 27 minutes of non stop ringing and took place while the church was open for the Flower Festival. In the case of more advanced ringing we don’t call changes but ring ‘methods’ which, to the layman, could be described as tunes. These methods are known by heart by the ringers and some of the most common ones are those we rang in the peal. They were Kent Treble Bob, Cambridge Surprise, Plain Bob and St Clements College Bob Minor. Minor denotes that the methods were the six bell varieties. To ring a full peal on six bells we have to ring 5040 ‘changes’. The first ‘change’ with any of the four above mentioned methods would be 2 1 4 3 6 5 but then there’s a divergence between the methods. In each of these methods we ring all the possible combination on six bells, which is factorial six. It can be written 6! and those with mathematical knowledge will realise it’s 1x2x3x4x5x6. That comes to 720 changes or different combinations on six bells. So we had to ring seven extents to get to 5040 changes.

Why 5040 changes? Well, one of the most common number of bells in English church towers is eight and historically often methods were rung with seven bells interchanging and the eighth one, the tenor, ringing last. That gives a good structure to the ringing and is pleasing to the ear with the tenor ringing at the end of the change. Guess what...the maximum combination on seven bells is factorial seven and is factorial six (720) times seven which is 5040! This number of changes is adopted even for peals on less than seven bells, such as our six bells at St Giles.

On Saturday afternoon, 17th November 2018 St Giles hosted the Lewisham District Call Change Competition. As District Ringing Master it is my responsibility to arrange a tower to host this annual competition as well as judges who listen carefully to the ringing, marking faults when each of the bands rings, and then delivering the results. Five bands from different towers entered and each had the aim of achieving even and rhythmic ringing with minimal clips or clashes as the bells rang. The rules require each band to ring 120 rows and within this to have 12 changes. This level of competition, in musical terms, is the equivalent of being assessed on one’s scales on the piano or organ rather than, say Widor’s Toccata! It is a slight advantage to be the host tower as the home bands know the bells and their idiosyncrasies although we did allow representatives from other towers to come to St Giles to practise in the run up to the competition.

After the five bands had rung there seemed an interminable wait before the judges announced the results. In time honoured fashion these were announced in reverse order and, yes, St Giles was placed first! Second was Bromley and Crayford was third. We boasted the youngest (Helen Scarlett) and oldest (Audrey Allaway) ringers with 75 years age difference!

The photograph above shows Audrey holding the cup and we think we might now need a trophy cabinet...!

Nick Wilkins, December 2018