Watch: Handbell ringers re-create famous peal in honour of Leiston brothers, 100 years on

Handbell ringers in Leiston marked the centenary of a very significant bellringing performance in 1921.

Handbell ringers in Leiston marked the centenary of a peal by the Bailey brothers in 1921. From left, John Hughes D'Aeth, Katharine and Graham Firman, John Loveless, David Brown and Paul Mounssey. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

A group of handbell ringers have re-created a famous peal of bells by the Bailey brothers of Leiston.

John Loveless, who is originally from Bures, got six expert ringers together to mark the centenary of the feat.

On August 25, 1921, six brothers from the same family, the Baileys, rang a continuous peal at St Margaret's Church of more than 5,000 different rows, or patterns of bells, on 12 handbells.

The six visiting ringers successfully completed a handbell peal of Stedman Cinques at the church, like the originals, on Wednesday, September 1, just over 100 years on.

The six Bailey brothers of Leiston who rang the famous handbell peal, which is being re-created

The six Bailey brothers of Leiston who rang the famous handbell peal, which has been re-created - Credit: The Suffolk Guild of Ringers History Project

Mr Loveless said: "It feels fantastic - we were really pleased to do it."

He said he had contacted the church to arrange to ring the peal, in honour of the brothers.

"I knew something about the Bailey brothers of Leiston. They were a notable family for sport when they were young men, and then certainly for bell-ringing later on."

John Loveless, who is originally from Bures, travelled from Bedfordshire for the handbell ringing at Leiston Church

John Loveless, who is originally from Bures, travelled from Bedfordshire for the handbell ringing at Leiston Church - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

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Mr Loveless, who travelled from his home in Bedfordshire, said he had got together handbell experts from around the country to ring the peal.

"It's quite specialist and has not been done many times," he said, adding that Leiston is one of only five centres of ringing to have completed this type of peal since 1854.

There was a small display at the church about the well-known Bailey family, which had a total of 11 brothers, nine of whom worked at Richard Garrett and Sons engineers.

The handbell ringers who marked the centenary in Leiston

The handbell ringers who marked the centenary in Leiston, from left, John Hughes D'Aeth, Katharine and Graham Firman, John Loveless, David Brown and Paul Mounssey. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

The six who rang the original peal were Allen, Frederick, Ernest, Charles, James and Edgar.

Mr Loveless has been carrying out research into the Bailey brothers as part of his preparation for a book he is currently writing, about the expansion of bell-ringing in the 19th and 20th centuries.

This was the second of two special bell-ringing events to mark the centenary of the Bailey brothers' peal.

On August 25, a Suffolk Guild of Ringers band rang the church bells for around an hour and a half, and Jackie Kingston, granddaughter of one of the brothers, Norman Bailey, went along to hear them.

It is hoped the double marking of the centenary will help to encourage more people to take up bell-ringing.

For more information, visit the Suffolk Guild of Ringers' website.

The 11 Bailey brothers of Leiston, six of whom rang a famous handbell peal

The 11 Bailey brothers of Leiston, six of whom rang a famous handbell peal - Credit: The Suffolk Guild of Ringers History Project,




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