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The Peace Bell and the Restoration of the Bells at St Peter's Church

In February 1919 Messrs Mears and Stainbank, whose Bell Foundry was in Whitechapel, estimated £146 2s 9d for repairs to the tenor bell at St Peter's Church, which was cracked and required recasting, new woodwork and refitting. The church heating also required attention, and the congregation had to decide which to do first. In May it was decided that the heating would be too expensive, and that collections would be organised to raise the money to repair the tenor bell.

In June 1919 it was proposed to add a sixth bell as a memorial. This was confirmed in July and the Surrey and Hants News reported that a gymkhana and an Old English Fair would be held in the Barn Meadow, by kind permission of Mrs Manfield, to raise the money for the Belfrey Restoration Fund and the new bell. There would be a flag day later, and a sale of work in the spring.

The Old English Fair took place in August. Roundabouts and swings were provided by fairground folk; parishioners held a sale of fruit and vegetables, livestock and rummage; and there was a tea tent, a sweets stall and a fine art gallery. Competitions included croquet (prize a fine cockerel), bowls (prize a pig), guessing (prizes a gammon of bacon, a seed cake, a hamper of apples and a bottle of sweets). At 5pm "Flirtation Tea Baskets" were auctioned by Mr Britten. Only gentlemen could bid, and the winners had to entertain the ladies who made them to tea. The names of the lady donors were kept secret until after the auction. The Boy Scouts made a collection on behalf of the fund during the day, and in the evening there was dancing to music provided by the Tongham Brass Band.

The tenor bell was re-cast and a treble bell called the “Peace Bell” was added to the peal of five bells at St Peter’s Church. The bell was inscribed: “AD 1919 – THINE O LORD IS THE VICTORY”.

All the bells were re-hung in the belfry, and on a Friday evening in September 1919 the Archdeacon of Winchester conducted a dedication service, assisted by the Rector, Reverend Lambrick, and Reverend Lacey from St Mary’s Church Ash Vale. Special hymns were sung, “We love the place, O God” and “Hark, hark my soul”, and the bells were pealed.

The Peace Bell
In March 1920 the Surrey and Hants News reported that a beautiful memorial design, to commemorate the restoration of the belfry, the peace bell and the war victory, had been made by Mr WB Caroe, architect to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners at Winchester College. It was to be an oak tablet with an inscription, surmounted by a carved bell, enclosed in a decorative frame.

The memorial tablet was dedicated in May 1921. It was unveiled by Mr White, leader of the bell ringers, and dedicated by the Rector, Rev CM Lambrick. The work had been carried out by Messrs Ward Bros of Ash.

The plaque was inscribed in raised and gilded Gothic characters: “IN HONOUR OF THOSE WHO FELL AND SUFFERED IN THE GREAT WAR AND TO COMMEMORATE THE PEACE AFTER VICTORY THE BELLS WERE RESTORED AND A SIXTH ADDED”.

The bell above was inscribed in raised letters: “AD 1919 – THINE O LORD IS THE VICTORY”.

The Peace Bell Tablet

Ash War Memorial

St Peter's Church

 


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