Market Deeping has a very active band of bell ringers. Full time members of the band number approximately 15 and consist of ringers of all ages and abilities. In recent years there has been a strong recruitment and training drive that has ensured that there is always ringing for services when required.
In addition, the band has benefited from able ringers moving into the town and joining. However, it has also lost able recruits to other towers as they move away, often to further education. Regular ringing activities are also bolstered by visitors of all standards and ages, who assist in ringing at services and join in on practice nights.
Regular ringing sessions occur on:
Sunday Morning Service Open ringing 09:30 to 10:00
Sunday Evensong Open ringing 18:00 to 18:30 first Sunday of the month
Sunday Evensong Quarter peals 17:40 to 18:30 other Sundays
Practice night 19:30 to 21:00 Every Thursday.
Ringing for other services and state occasions is carried out on request. The tower also hosts regular sessions from visiting bands and local societies.
Full peals on the bells (comprising over 5000 changes, which take approximately 3 hours) are also completed when circumstances allow.
Bells are a feature of many of our Parish Churches. They call the faithful to worship, they ring out in celebration, they toll in sorrow.
There has been a ring of bells in St Guthlac's since 1766, when six of our bells were cast and hung for ringing by Joseph Eyre of St. Neots, Huntingdonshire. A peal of six bells all cast by the same manufacturer at the same time is unusual. Details of the bells with their inscriptions are reproduced below from "Dean Howard's History" in the Parish Magazine of February 1930:
No.1 - Cum voco venite (When I call come) Joseph Eyre St. Neots, Huntingdonshire. Fecit 1766. (Diameter 30¾ inches; weight 5-3-18).
No.2 - Omnia fiant ad gloriam Dei (Let all be done to the glory of God). 1766. (Diameter 32¼ inches; weight 6-1-20).
No.3 - Ergo sum vox clemantis (I am the voice of one crying - S Matt 3,3). Joseph Eyre, St. Neots, 1766. (Diameter 34 inches; weight 7-0-23).
No.4 - In Dei Gloriam in Ecclesiae commodum (To the glory of God and the good of the Church). Joseph Eyre, Fecit - St. Neots, Huntingdonshire, 1766. (Diameter 36¾ inches; weight 8-2-23).
No.5 - Lawrence Maydwell, Rector. John Mawby, John Boyall, Churchwardens. 1766. (Diameter 40 inches; weight 10-0-20).
No.6 - Lawrence Maydwell, Rector. John Mawby, John Boyall, Churchwardens. Joseph Eyre, St. Neots - Fecit Nov 15, 1766. (Diameter 44¼ inches; weight 13-3-25).
Farthings of George II's reign (1727 - 1760) were inserted In Bells Nos. 1, 3, 5 & 6. Lawrence Maydwell was Rector for 36 years (1752 - 1788). The weights of the bells (hundredweights - quarters - pounds) were not in the original text but, normally, are used to define their size.
The tenor bell was rehung and the bells generally put back into working order during Queen Victoria's jubilee year, 1887.
By 1989 the fittings were again in a poor state of repair, and funds were raised to re-hang the bells with new fittings in a steel frame in which space was left for two additional bells. Before rehanging, the bells were re-tuned.
To mark the Millennium, it was decided to augment the bells from a ring of six to a ring of eight to attain the octave. This was accomplished through a combination of local fund raising and support and a grant from the National Lottery Millennium Fund. The two new bells were cast and hung by John Taylor & Co of Loughborough in 1998, one of the two remaining bellfounders in England. Before hanging, the bells were blessed by the Bishop of Lincoln on 30th August 1998. They were first rung as a complete octave on 11th October 1998. Details of the new bells with inscriptions are:
New No. 1 (treble) - Laus Deo (Praise be to God). John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 1998. (Diameter 26½ inches; weight 4-3-6).
New No. 2 - Derek Earis, Rector. Stewart Jones and Kay Roberts, Churchwardens. JT&Co 1998. (Diameter 28½ inches; weight 5-0-24).
Each bell also has on it the Millennium Commission's medallion.
In addition to their fundraising efforts, the ringers and other volunteers prepared the tower and assisted the contractors with the work in both 1989 and 1998. They continue to maintain the bells and tower fittings to a high standard.