Bellringers don’t just visit other towers when they have lost their own bells; visits are part of a long established tradition that continues to the present day. Local newspapers used to report such events so we have a record of some of those gatherings.
On Easter Monday in 1866 the newly trained Devonshire men from Kelly came across the Tamar to spend the day ringing
with the Calstock band. All the ringing was
by the scientific half-pull method. The bands were supported by the eminent ringer Mr William Bannister who conducted and rang in the first touch of 216 grandsire minor ever to be rung in Cornwall. The party later dined at Harewood.
In June 1892 members of the Bodmin Fire Brigade visited the tower on “their first annual trip up the Tamar”. It was an event sponsored by the inhabitants of Bodmin and the ringers were lucky to have fine weather.
A few years later in September 1904 the residents of Milton Abbott arrived in numbers, bringing members of the Cricket Club, the bell ringers and “a host of other friends”. Merry peals were rung and a cricket match with the Calstock XI was played on the lawn of Harewood House (Calstock won by 66 to 31 runs). The day was rounded off with tea provided by the Calstock Cricket Club.
In September 1938 the ringers of Exbourne and Jacobstowe churches organised a tour which encompassed the towers of Bridestowe, Calstock, St Dominic, Landulph, Saltash and Plymouth. This was a long day indeed, the ringers only returning home at 11pm.
More recently, newspapers have stopped covering such outings but the belfry visitors book shows that in recent years,
ringers from as far afield as Northamptonshire
and Wales have come to Calstock tower.