Calstock Bell Ringers
The Heritage Lottery Fund supported a number of initiatives in the bell project. They were very keen not just to repair and restore the bells but also to promote education and establish a new heritage. Casting new headstocks for the bells allowed us to permanently record the names of key participants in the project and also a number of recent tower captains and significant ringers.
Information about the Tower Captains prior to the second half of the twentieth century is patchy. It is known that for some years before the Second World War, Harry (Harold) Congdon from Todsworthy was Captain. He handed over the role to Eric W Bolt, who apparently declined to be called Tower Captain. He told his predecessor that he was happy to run the band but would only assume the title when Mr Congdon had passed on. Eric Bolt died in 1951 six years before Harry Congdon.
It is not certain who took over from Mr Bolt but it may have been Ernest Delve who is known to have relinquished the role to Eric Pengelly in 1959. Mr Pengelly had lived in Calstock for some years. He held the position of Tower Captain for only a short time until his premature death in 1961, when he died at the age of 60 whilst ringing for Evensong.
Gordon Ruming began ringing in the late 1950s at Prestbury, Gloucester; it is reported in the Ringing World that he was awarded a table lamp fashioned from a broken stay as a memento of his early efforts. In 1957 he rang his first quarter peal whilst still in Gloucestershire. By 1960 he was in Cornwall ringing at St Mary’s, Penzance. The Revd. Canon Ruming became Rector at Calstock in 1961, where he worked tirelessly to re-establish method ringing in the tower. He died in October 2020.
Peter Rawles grew up in the south east of England. He read English Language and Literature at Brasenose College, Oxford and was an enthusiastic rower. On graduating in 1952 he moved to the West Country where became a teacher, changed to gig rowing and, in due course, took up bell ringing. Peter worked with Gordon Ruming to encourage method ringing at Calstock. He rang his first quarter peal in 1962 and his first full peal in 1964, taking the Treble in the Centenary peal which commemorated the introduction of method ringing to Cornwall. He died in 2003 aged 76.
Sometime around 1966, Doug Petipher was introduced to the idea of becoming a bell ringer whilst giving Gordon Ruming a lift to collect some hymn books from the church. He was taught to ring by Gordon and Peter Rawles, becoming adept at methods such as Bob Doubles, Grandsire and Stedman Doubles. Doug became tower captain around the year 2000 when Peter Rawles took an extended holiday to Australia to visit family. Doug continued in the role until just after his 91st birthday in 2016.
Robin Clowes was taught to ring by Sue Riozzi at Calstock church, at a time when Peter Rawles was still Tower Captain. He quickly become skilled at call change and method ringing and took over the teaching of new ringers when Sue retired. Robin rang with the Calstock band for nearly twenty years. He was Tower Captain from April to December 2017.
Sue McClaughry began ringing in late 2016. Although being a Calstock ringer, Sue was taught by Kevan Borlase of St Dominic tower and later by Owen Borlase. Sue became Tower Captain at Calstock in January 2018 and almost immediately launched the bell restoration project.
It would be difficult to over-state the contribution that Cyril Worth & Son, Chris Facey, Owen Borlase and Kevan Borlase all made to the bell restoration project: without their individual contributions the task would have been far more difficult.
The headstocks also record the contributions of:
The Truro Diocesan Guild of Ringers (TDGR), who supported the project through the Bell Restoration Fund; John Rawles RIP, who rang at Calstock for nearly 30 years and was an active member of both the church and village community; John died in 2011 at the age of 91; Sue Mullins, a parishioner of the parish; the Bowhay Family, who supported the project in memory of Edward and Olive Bowhay RIP, formerly of the parish.