Full peal of bells dedicated to all Riponians killed in WW1

14 August 2018

A full peal of bells dedicated to all Riponians killed in WW1 will be attempted at Ripon Cathedral on Thursday, August 23 – on the centenary of the death of Ripon bell ringer William Thorpe.

Private Thorpe, who was in the 3rd Battalion of the Grenadier Guards, was killed in action during the Second Battle of the Somme in 1918, aged 35. Married, Pte Thorpe had worked at Williamson’s Varnish Works in the city. He is remembered with honour at the Vis-en-Artois Memorial at Haucourt in France.

It is in his memory and that of all those who fell during the Great War that the sombre peal will be rung – with the bells half muffled. A video link will enable visitors to the cathedral to see the bells as they ring.

The peal is quite a challenge – beginning at noon and taking more than three hours to complete. Ten of the 12 cathedral bells will be rung with over 5,000 changes. With ringing of this type there is no guarantee of success – anything going wrong can lead to failure with no opportunity to start again.

Peals of this type have been taking place throughout the country for bell ringers killed a century ago. Thursday’s peal will be carried out by the Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers.

Robert Wood, Chairman of the Cleveland and North Yorkshire Branch of the Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers said: “Ripon, like most other communities, lost many of its finest young men in the Great War and it is important that we all remember and honour them. We, as bellringers, do that through our ringing and as William Thorpe was a bellringer, it seemed appropriate to ring on the centenary of his death.”

Alan Regin MBE, Steward of the Rolls of Honour for the Central Council of Church Bellringers said:

Over 1,400 bell ringers died during WWI, 100 years on their sacrifice is being commemorated in the towers in which they rang. Ringers in the Cleveland and North Yorkshire area have been actively taking part in these commemorations.



Pte Thorpe is remembered on the war memorial adjacent to the cathedral’s High Altar and will be remembered in prayers at services throughout the day.

During the peal a standard-bearer from the Ripon Branch of the Royal British Legion will march back and forth on the forecourt of the cathedral during the time of the Memorial Peal. There will also be a stall explaining the work of the Royal British Legion and its Ripon branch.

Branch Chairman Jeet Sahi said:

The RBL, Ripon Branch, is honoured to have been asked to take part in the cathedral’s peel in honour of the sacrifice William made.  It’s through such sacrifice that we are able to live our lives in freedom, and one of the reasons the RBL was formed.

We are also advertising the new Garden of Remembrance that the Ripon Branch is creating within the next three months, (purely through sponsorship and donations).  It will be situated in the grounds opposite the cathedral and will give pride to the military community and a tranquil place for people of all generations to sit, reflect and remember our fallen warriors.

If you are interested in joining the team of ringers at Ripon visit their website at https://riponringers.wordpress.com/



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