The Bells of Ardingly

Ode to the Ardingly Bells
The Bells of Ardingly DVD offer
A New Bell in 1766

Ode to the Ardingly Bells

My theme to-night will welcome be 
To many whom around I see; 
They’ll pardon, too, my faulty rhymes 
For sake of their old church’s chimes.

Five sisters in yon tower nigh, 
Those pleasant bells of Ardingly; 
Their music sweet was surely made 
For every class, for every grade.

To heighten joy, to solace woe, 
In every need the heart can know; 
For some will wed and sonic must die 
Beneath those bells of Ardingly.

How dear to you their Sabbath call,
Their dearest peal perhaps of all;
Which softly says to young and old
Come, gather to your Shepherd’s fold.’

How oft, in Wakehurst‘s woodland wild 
Have they my lonely hours beguiled; 
As far within some leafy bower 
I’ve heard them from you ancient tower !

And oft times, too, the rocks around 
Would echo faintly back the sound; 
Then tears, unbidden, filled my eyes 
To hear such music from the skies. 

Ye sisters five, of olden times. 
Ring ever on those blessed chimes !
Long may we hear your message high 
Far o’er the fields of Ardingly.

March 15th 1879; PERENNA OWEN

Now that our ringers are at work again and the bells once more summon us to the House of God, it may give pleasure to many to be reminded of the above lines. At one time there was hardly a home in the parish where they were not familiar.

For the younger generation and the newcomers we may record that Miss Owen lived for many years with Lady Downshire at Wakehurst. She wrote these lines and recited them at an Entertainment given at the Schools, hence the allusions in the first two verses. Miss Owen died the following year,1880, and is buried close to the Tower whence the bells once more:

“Ring out the old, ring in the new,
“Ring in the love of truth and light,
"Ring in the common love of good.”

Full particulars of the bells have been already published and will be found in the Tower.

The Bells of Ardingly DVD poster
The DVD is available for £11.00 (incl. P&P) with all proceeds going to St. Peter’s Church, Ardingly.
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A New Bell in 1766

A list of subscribers towards the cost of a new Bell is among the papers belonging to the Newnham family, late of West Hill. It is undated, but the inscription on the Bell enables us to identify it. The Bell was the Treble bell up until 1912, when another was added. The inscription on it is as follows: “N.C. and E.F., Chwdns. Wm. Newnham and John Wicking chief subscribers. Lester and Packe of London fecit l766.

NC (Nicholas Cripps) and EF (Edward Flint) were Churchwardens in 1766. T. Browne is the Rector Timothy and the other T. Brown is doubtless his father, who was then living in the parish. The Rector of Balcombe subscribes, as the Chatfield family held a considerable amount of land in Ardingly. The fractions of a guinea, 2s. 7½d. and 5s. 3d., as subscriptions are interesting.

All Landholders and other Persons belonging to the Parish of Ardingly are desired to Subscribe their names, and Give what sum of money they please towards the Purchase of a new Bell, and if there Remains any Money more than what the Bell will a mount to that is thought Necessary to be Distributed among the Poor of the Parish that are not in the Workhouse.

Mrs. Newnham01006Dr. Clarke110
Ann Jarrett0010Mr. Mascall026
Frances Page006Mr. Ashford020
Samuel Byne0026Peggy Mascall010
Thomas Tullye0010Lucy Pilbeame006
Mary Davy0026John Francis030
Hugh Davey0050John Langridge010
James Tully0026Ths. Edwords026
John Sturt0050John Smith006
Richd. Holman0010George Childs006
Willm. Holman0010Edward Kemp050
Henry Ridley0010Mary Hills02
John Ridley0010Katherine Hills02
Thos. Comber0026Willm. Sacheby010
Willm. Newnham5050Ths. Harmer0106
John Wicking3136WilIm. Harmer050
Sarah Harland010Willm. Allcock050
Phebe Murrel006Willm. Creasy026
Richd. Pilbeam, Sr.050John Hills053
Nichs. Cripes040John Shippeye026
John Cripes026Thos. Stanbridge050
Mrs. Jackson010John Jorden026
Richard Jackson030Thos. Warnet010
Mary Bashford006T. Browne050
Mrs. Backshall050Rev. & Mrs. Chatfield110
Ann Nicholas010Mrs. Flint026
T. Burrel0106Mrs. Batchaler010
Mrs. Hamlin, Sunte026Master Cripes, more020
Samuel Picknell030Master Page, more050
Edward Flint040Mrs. Mary Allingham050
Jerh. Gower, Jr.026Mr. Wood Streate place0106
Henry Jarrat026Mary Packham010
Jerh. Gower, Sr.040Thos. Edwards, more026
John Tullye0106Richard Turner026
Thos. Harmer, Jr.0106John Hills more010
Mrs. Harmer, Jr.050Mrs. Nicholass076
John Page0106Jereah. Gower, more010
Frans. Page053Samuel Banester016
Richd. Pilbeam, Jr.026T. Brown026
Mary Francis010Walter Stanbridge029
Richd. Holman0106
John Lindfield006
John Francis, Jr.0100

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