faced teenager Roy Wiles heard the bells of St Remigius Church,
Hethersett, he was entranced and “felt like having a go.”
Well over 40
years later, Roy is retiring as Ringing Master, teacher and adviser at
Hethersett Parish Church. Over that time he has continued his love of bell
ringing and will stay on as Ringing Master Emeritus – an honorary
position within Hethersett Bellringers. He will also be present to share
his expertise as and when needed.
that he didn’t find ringing easy at first: “I really wanted to give it
a try to see how I got on. At first I struggled a bit and found some of
the ringing very difficult. Slowly everything began to slot into place.”
Roy persevered and never looked back.
Roy, who was
born and bred in the village, and who has lived all his life in Mill Road,
was the first person outside the Moore family to become Ringing Master.
Sam Moore was the first villager to take on the position and he passed it
to his son George. He in turn handed over the reins to his son Charlie,
who was in charge for 33 years, before Roy took over. After 44 years and
20 days of being Ringing Master, Roy announced his retirement at the
ringers’ recent annual meeting.
In his time
“in charge of the tower” Roy has rung for six different rectors and
will shortly add another when a new incumbent is announced. He has led his
team at induction ceremonies, weddings, funerals and a number of special
events such as the Queen’s Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees, Royal
Weddings and last year’s Olympic celebrations. Roy and his team have
practised virtually every Thursday evening during his time in charge and
he has always tried to inject some fun into the art, encouraging his
fellow ringers to enjoy a “laugh and a joke.”
tell new people not to look up. When you pull a rope down it is only
coming through a hole in the ceiling and if you look up you could get an
eye full of dust. We always try to make our ringing lively and jolly and
visitors have complimented us on this,” he said.
years Roy has been acknowledged as a Norfolk authority on the methods and
procedures of bell ringing and has appeared on Radio Norfolk, BBC
Television and in newspapers. He is Vice-President of the Norwich Diocesan
Association of Bell Ringers and has perfected the art of being able to
take part whilst issuing instructions to his fellow bell ringers.
rival sportsmen in their love of dates and statistics. Roy has kept a
record of all his rings, although he admits some work is needed to put
them in order. He vividly remembers his first practice in St Remigius
which took place on April 10th, 1958 for Easter services.
years Roy has had to stay very focused and fit both mentally and
physically: to ring a complete peal can take up to three hours (Roy has
rung 40 of these). The ringing chamber at St Remigius is up 42 very narrow
stairs and that’s a journey Roy estimates he has taken well over 5,000
times. In addition he was for many years responsible for manually winding
up the church clock every week until electronic parts were installed a few
Hethersett Company of Bellringers currently has 16 members. The new
Ringing Master will be Chris Denmark who has 46 years of experience under
his belt and says that he is “really looking forward to the
challenge.” Roy believes the future of ringing in Hethersett will be in