You could get a ring of 8 in there!

Annual Report delivery day #3 took us to the NE of the County and to the home of the NE District Secretary to delivery the reports for the NE District members.  One the way back we stopped off at Brightlingsea for our picnic lunch.  Neither of us has ever been to Brightlingsea before, and to be honest, are not likely to ever go there again.

However, as you go into the town, there a large church, All Saints, at the top of the hill.  We know that there are no bells in there (not for full circle ringing anyway) however the structure of the church and tower could easily take a decent set of 8 bells or event a set of 10.  It pinged up on our Sat Nav which is loaded with the Doves Guide points of interest, so it must have a bell in there.  

When we eventually got a signal, we checked the new and improved Doves Guide but Brightlingsea wasn’t listed at all.  C did a google search and according to the church guide “the most striking external feature is the embattled tower, built of local flint in the last years of the 15th century. The tower stands 97 feet high, in three stages, with a minstrel gallery built into the lowest stage. The tower really is quite remarkable; with one of the finest examples of diagonal buttress bracing in East Anglia

 “Said to be 2 bells, one by William Dawe circa 1400, inscribed Dulcis Sisto Melis Vocor Campana Michaelis. Sanctus uninscribed.”

the ringing chamber presents some curious features; in the belfry are frames for 5 or 6 bells, but only one of the ancient peal, dating from about A.D. 1450, now remains; there is also a small sanctus bell unhung: in 1889 a peal of 10 tubular bells was presented by M. Bayard Brown esq. an American gentleman visiting Brightlingsea in his steam yacht “Valfreyia:”

Our route back home took us to drop off reports for Inworth (6 bells), Tollesbury (10 bells), Tolleshunt D’Arcy (6 bells), Great Totham (6 bells), Goldhanger (8 bells), Maldon St Mary (6 bells) and Maldon All Saints (8 bells).

So many bells and we didn’t even ring one of them.


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