St Nicholas’ Church is located in the village of Old Marston, an independent parish on the outskirts of Oxford. The church is a lively and active community including a number of activities for both adults and children. St Nicholas is one of the leading towers in the country, and the top in Oxfordshire for Quarter Peal ringing. Recruits are needed to learn the ancient Art of Bellringing and join the St Nicholas Band – bellringing is fun and a way of making new friends and is a hobby for people of all ages and all abilities.
Bellringing is a hobby for people of all ages and all abilities. St Nicholas Bell-ringers Society is one of the leading towers in the country, and the top in Oxfordshire for Quarter Peal ringing. Many ringers owe their progress to Marston Bell-ringers.
The Tower offers Handbell Ringing as well as Tower Bellringing. St Nicholas has had bells and a band to chime or ring them for many years. In the 19th century five bells were installed in the Tower. In 1972 a 6th bell was added and the platform was built so that a vestry could be established. The short ropes falling easily to hand and the light ring of 6cwt make excellent teaching and learning facilities. The society is involved in teaching at other towers and in providing ringers or bands for special occasions and other towers around Oxford.
Outings, visits and activities are provided throughout the year as well as weekend or week ringing occasions. Change ringing does not require brute strength, so anyone can learn as an individual or in a group. The present band consists of males and females aged 9 upwards.
Around 1948, twelve handbells were found at the Victoria Arms by Mr Jennings the landlord. These bells were purchased by Bill Brain and Alec Gammon for use by the St Nicholas Ringers. The ringers and the choir used to sing carols and ring handbells around the Village at Christmas and New Year to raise money for St Nicholas Parish Church. Each ringer rang two bells to tunes, and later Method ringing in the 1950’s. The ringers raised money to buy some 24 new bells so that the scope could be enlarged.
We want to raise a Handbell Band so our bells can be used again.
See the bells and find out more here: The Bells
Guide for Bell Ringers
Dove’s Guide for Church Bell Ringers – here
Peel List for Tower
155 valid peals for Marston, Oxford, S Nicholas, Oxfordshire, England – here
How to Bell-Ring
Online resource about bell-ringing – https://www.youtube.com/user/DiscoverBellRinging
Ye Gentlemen Ringers both far and near,
That are disposed for to Ring here;
Observe this law, and mark it well.
The Man that Overthrow his Bell;
Six-pence he to the Clark must pay,
Before that he go hence away,
If he Ring with Glove, Spur, or Hat,
Sixpence he must pay for that;
If he either Curse, or Swear.
Six-pence must pay while you are here,
This is not a place to Quarrel in,
To Curse, and Swear, it is a sin.
Thanks to the Captain of Badingham and Dennington Towers who collected this from Dennington Ringing Chamber, dated 1795