St Mary the Virgin Church, Coleorton, held two Open Days on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th September which proved very popular. Coleorton Heritage Group members helped with telling the history of St Mary's and the children from Viscount Beaumont’s school produced a display celebrating the poet William Wordsworth who visited Coleorton and stayed with the Beaumont family at Hall farm and Coleorton Hall during the early 1800s and may have written his famous "Daffodils" poem here. William and his family were regular worshippers at St Marys.
Of course, on 8th September our dear Queen Elizabeth died. On the following day just before 12 noon Terry Lord, from a family with several generations of bell-ringers, arrived and we soon heard a couple of "boings" from the church bell. Terry explained that he and his colleague were there to ring the toll for Queen Elizabeth's death. At noon he would ring the big bell, three times - then a pause - three more times - then a pause and then 96 times, one for each year of Queen Elizabeth's life. The big bell was muffled to produce a more mournful sound.
In days before internet news, telephones, TV, radio and newspapers, communities relied on church bells for information as well as for a call to worship. To announce a death the practice is to toll three times three strokes for a man, twice three times for a woman and for a child three single strokes followed by a pause and then one toll for every year of life.
On Saturday 10th September Terry and colleagues returned to ring a joyous celebration of the accession of Charles III to the throne, this time with the bell unmuffled. The bell-ringers then went on to Packington Church to ring there.
St Mary’s has 8 bells. Of the original 6 bells cast by Mears and Stainbank of London in 1826 only 3 remain. In 1877 at the behest of Sir George Beaumont, 10th Baronet, Taylors of Loughborough cast 2 new bells, and recast the 5th bell to make them into a ring of 8 with a tenor or heaviest bell of approx 13 ¼ cwt. (1453 lb or 659 kg). The wooden bell-frame was built and fixed by workmen from the Beaumont Estate.
By 1956 it became obvious the bells needed rehanging and tuning and Taylors rehung them on ball-bearings and cast a new 3rd bell at a cost of £800.
In 2005 the underweight 1826 7th bell was replaced by a bell from a redundant ring at Kettering, it being the same note but over 1 cwt heavier. The Coleorton bell went to Deerhurst in Gloucestershire to replace a badly cracked bell.
The bells are regularly rung with bell-ringing practice on Thursday evenings and they will be rung for Christmas services. New ringers are welcome, with or without experience. Contact St Mary’s Tower Captain Colin Lord on 01530 837363 or email firstname.lastname@example.org