St Michael and All Angels, Ashton-Under-Lyne
Bellringers Peal Records
In terms of peal records St Michael's has been in a strong position with:-
a) a hand-written "Delight" loose leaf book containing what was thought to be a complete record of peals rung at St Michael's from 1782 to 1970. The book has not been up-dated since 1970, but at least the missing records were traceable via Ringing Worlds. This book was the work of Ronnie Edwards and Christine Andrew, for which grateful thanks for their time and effort.
b) a beautifully illuminated peal book, originally used to record the peals of "The Ashton-Under-Lyne Society" since its re-constitution in 1889, but which in more recent times was used to record only peals rung at St Michael's. The last entry in this book is for a peal rung on 11th May, 1966 (the first ever peal of Clyde Surprise Royal) and whilst at least two offers were made to provide a new book, it was less easy to find someone with the skills and time to produce another book in the same style as the original. Over the years many different people were responsible for writing up the peals in the original book and the development in styles is a testament to the historical nature of the book. All contributions are very gratefully acknowledged, although the only people we are able to name at this time are Eric Chadderton and Karen Vickers who completed the records from 1953 to 1966.
Following discussions with Joan Harrison (nee Carter) a recent project has been undertaken to bring the records up-to-date. Joan offered to pay for a new peal book, but accepted that the new book would have to be in a different and more manageable style. We are now in the computer age, so that suggested the obvious way forward - a computer database.
Initially, the plan was to bring the records up to date by adding the peals rung since 1966, but as soon as work started it became obvious that the original records were not as complete as we thought - some peals had never been recorded. In addition, the records included at least one peal which is now known to have been false. As a result of painstaking research and cross-checking of records, together with the tedious task of data entry, we now have what we believe to be a complete record of peals rung at St Michael's. The database we hope to keep up to date, but the new peal book when printed will obviously go out of date as soon as the next peal is rung on the bells.
The recent work has been undertaken by Stephen Brannan (who produced the computer database and printed the pages for the new peal book) and by Neil Bennett and Jeffrey Brannan for lots of patient research and data entry. Derek Thomas was also a major contributor, particularly in providing data for earlier peals many of which had not been recorded. Nick Jones is thanked for providing details of 16 peals reported in newspapers held in The Bristish Library. Our grateful thanks also go to the keepers of the Felstead records which proved extremely useful for cross-checking.