I used to ring a little as a teenager in Cardiff Wales. As an almost retiree in Shreveport Louisiana I had the good fortune to have St Mark's Cathedral just down the road from me install 8 bells from Whitechapel. Our band consists entirely of novices (myself included) and we rely on the kindness of visiting ringers to learn. We are just up to plain hunt after about 1 year.
Went onto your site looking into Bellringing, looked at your day job page and what a shock, Organ building!! I used to work for Henry Willis and sons as an apprentice for 4 years, Glad to see someone keeping the skills alive,
Did your Widdington walk yesterday with friends. Great instructions only got lost once in the plantation and that was our mistake. The territorial dog has turned into a sign saying 'any dog found in this yard will be shot'. Apart from that a very dog friendly walk as not much road walking either. Great walk, will now try some others. Thanks, the pictures help too.
My bookclub is reading Nine Tailors; having no knowledge of Bell Ringing (except from a reference in the old TV series "All Creatures Great and Small) about 25 percent of the book was over my head. Therefore your pages on Bell Ringing was a godsend. All is clear (at least a little less muddy). You'd have to be as fit as a soccer player to ring a peal
Just completed your Castle Hedingham walk - not only a very interesting walk but your directions are by far the best I have ever come across, including the don't do's as well as the do's. Many thanks for sharing with us all. PS, if quoting me, please do not include my e-mail address.
Hello - may I use your photos of the Hog and Donkey in Marshside Kent with a credit? I'm a reporter with the Canterbury/Herne Bay and Whitstable Times and am writing a local history page on the pub. Also if you have any recollections about it, that would be great. Look forward to hearing from you. Many thanks.
Love the site. Hope you do not mind but I have linked to your site from the Rose and Crown site for your circular Ivinghoe walk. It starts and finishes essentially at the Rose and Crown. We have recently purchased the Rose and Crown (it has been closed since late 2008) and we are refurbishing it and reopening later in July 2009. We do a great pint and very good food and wine. The Rose and Crown welcomes all walkers and other visitors to Ivinghoe.
I love your site. It is a great resource for anyone interested in learning about change ringing and the art of bell ringing.
Would you mind if I used some of your photos and recordings? I am putting together a series of free talks to present to some of our local groups like the WI.
Assuming you live in Bristol and within an hours drive of Swindon, perhaps you would like me to present my talk to one of your local groups in exchange for using your content?
I learnt to ring when I was 10 and have rung on and off since then (I'm 33 now). My talk will be interactive, fun and ambitious as I plan to teach my audience the principals of change ringing and get them to compose the start of their own method in about 20 minutes.
I am putting together this talk as an extension of my training career and a step towards a new career as a Key Note Speaker.
I am about to start bell ringing lessons and was looking for information and came across your site! I have read it through and need to read it again! I'm hoping that I can get my brain around it before next week! It's a great site and I loved listening to the organ music. My husband is church organist and we both belong to the T.D.O.A. (Torbay and District Organists Association)I don't play sadly...I also enjoy walking and will visit your site again to look at your walks. Well done, it's a good site. Very enjoyable! Your ratings need changing though... What about 'Excellent'.
Thanks for your well presented description. I will use the scheme for Plain Bob Minor to programme a set of 8 bells on a mobile trailer system I have just completed. I was interested to read your comment about continental clocks because I have recently installed a chime, originally of 16 bells but now increased to 21 which use a Dutch computerised system to play tunes, and can play loud or soft and include harmonies, so there is certainly one more in the UK than at the beginning of last year. You can see it on our website but it has not been updated from 16 to 21 bells, and in fact the bottom 4 are not quite adjusted yet.
Staying near Saffron Walden this coming weekend for some local walking, and found your site by Google. The walks have plenty of detail and we plan to use one - will let you know how successful we are [or if not, we are stung or poisoned!!!]
An excellent resource, and not known to our hosts for the weekend - although I have promised her the details as she gets lots of walkers to stay].
Hi - stumbled across your site and saw you used to work in the Organ Works in Thaxted. Well, I now live in one of the 3 dwellings it was converted into ! You might be interested to see how it now looks inside :
Hello Matthew!! (or Matt if you prefer) I kind of came to this accident by accident. I have a teacher named Matthew Fry and I though this might be a site of his but obviously wasn't. HA ha.. But terrific site really!! It's amazing!! Nice pictures too!
Looks interesting. I hope to do a piece of textile work based on method ringing and the patterns look just what I need to get me thinking. Unfortunately I have not been able to print all the pages off, only the first one. Is it possible to do this?
Having idly surfed my own name in a fit of narciscism, I was mildly interested to see your site come up us the first result on Google. Upon browsing your web page however, I am now mildy irritated that my name is associated with such inane dross. I for one don't want to look at your sad ramblings around East Anglia and would like you to change your domain name to another, preferably made-up name. Otherwise I'll be forced to call on my lawyers.
Kind regards, Matthew Fry The First.
Comment by site owner:.. Sorry I took this domain name - matthewfry.co.uk was already taken, but the owner has done nothing with it. That annoys me immensely!!!
Brilliant - a lapsed ringer - taught to ring at All Saints, Gresford (the 7th Wonder of Wales) in 1955 - taught by Brian Threfall - College Youth - always kept interest and visited many towers - home tower now - Bridlington Priory but a little too heavy - thinking of suggesting what they did at All Saints Gresford - augment to 12 to give a lighter 8. I'll be visiting the page again - best wishes.
hi again, just if you wanted to know, i went in for one of those young ringer of the year compititions in 2006 and have given in my slip so fingers crossed that i do well!! i'm 14 so that should help me-hopefully! xx
finally some fresh air in between all those every repeating sites of trafficswarm. When I was 17 ( long ago ) I had the luck to hear the organ of the Sacre Coeur in Paris. Since then I always wondered how those magestic sound were produced. You just answered some of my questions. I'm real admiring people who mantain our cultural heritage. Keep up the good work.
Hi, I have really enjoyed this site and find it quite interesting ( its not that bad!!) i love the pics and find the methods tricky but i can go along with them if i really try ( no napping involved!) the sites really cool and i haven't found another site which is up to this standard...yet. xx
Wonderful website!You have done a GREAT work!I loved your website!
And this message for you:
I saw a dream: God took me to heaven.He invited me in His library.There was a lot of His books .I took the biggest one and read: CHRISTIANS MUST PREACH. I share with this dream with you.And if you are christian please PREACH.God bless you!!!This song is for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6CK0Krm4rM
I used to live in Thaxted from 1955-1959 in a place called Yew Tree Cottage. Do you know it? I plan on coming back in May of 2008 to visit. What wonderful memories I have of Thaxted. Please contact me if you know anything about Yew Tree cottage or maybe it is called something different now.
Hi Matthew sorry matt just found your site very interesting to see what you have been upto over the last few years I hope to hear from you soon as we seem to have a lot to catch up on from the past 10 Years of lost contact with each other.
I was searching to find information about the man who lived in Quendon Woods, but seems to have disappeared. Do you know anything about him ? I will visit your site again as it is interesting. I will also e-mail a friend who takes walks for the U3A.
As an organist and ringer myself, I found the site well presented and particularly enjoyed the photos of London towers and St Paul's. I expect lots of other people will already have told you that the extent on eight bells has indeed been rung - at Loughborough Bell Foundry in 1963, taking just over 19 hours.
hi there would just like to compliment you on your photos i was looking for some of the avon dam to show my wife where we used to go swimming(shipley) as i have lived in France for the past 18 years i was born and lived in South brent un til the age of 20 ,it bought back some very happy memories do you have any more of shipley ? thanks again anyway that has made my day i now live on the med in the south of France but for me it still is nt as good as devon apart from the sun of course cheers Steve
It is great pleasure to visit your website amd learn that you are resident in Newport, have worked in pipe organ construction and are interested in electronics.
I used to live in Newport for circa 30 years and have more recently spent time working in Northern Europe. I used to play the organ at Widdington Chuch at chruch services (from when I was 8 years old in Rev. Little's epoch) and was for a period of 4-5 years organist at Newport Church (both churches featured on your web-site). My background is electronics and my route to electronics was building electronic organs from the age of circa 7 years old onwards. I still pursue this interest to the present day but now with digital sound sampling of real pipe organs.
I refer you kindly to two articles that I wrote regarding the organ at Newport Church and its associated sister organ at Ugley Church. The organ now at Ugley Church was once a barrel organ at Newport Church and was converted from a barrel organ to a fingered instrucment when installed at Ugley Church. On donating/selling the barrle organ, a Walker organ was bought for Newport Church circa 1890, initially installed in a side isle and then moved to a tower region of the church. The Walker organ was unfortunately sub-optimally renovated circa 1970 and, when organist at Newport, I found the rebuilt organ somewhat unreliable in reponse to changes in temperature and humidity; moreover, the Gret organ is tonally out of proportion with the Swell organ. Open-wood pedal pipes were allegedly acquired from an organ in Hastings and incorporated at the sub-optimal rebuild. To be fair to the organ building firm involved with the rebuild, they were severely financially limited for reasons that are best described privatly. However, the contemporary manner of worship at Newport Church seems to be departing from more traditional organ music. It seems like the great English choral tradiition is presently in a process of rapid dissolution !
When next over in the UK, it would be a great privillege to meet up for a beer, cup of coffee or similar to discuss pipe organs and related topics, Newport's history and the Uttlesford area in general.
Thanks for a well-designed and interesting web-site.
Splendid views from the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. I lived as a student in Portsmouth from 2001 to 2002 when the tower was yet to be built, so it's nice to see how the city looks from up there. I certainly hope to be going myself sometime.
Lots of very good photos in the other galleries too. Keep up the good work.
I really like your site, especially the pictures of Flatford Mill, I love that area and went there twice on school trips about 10 years ago. I stayed in Willy Lott's cottage twice! Its a very old and nice building, so is the millhouse and also a building you missed out just down the lane of the mill, called vicaridge farm? I think.
I was brought up in Willingale Doe and lived at Diggins Farm from 1935 until 1952.
Here is a piece about the two churches in one churchyard which you might find interesting. I also have a sketch map of the boundaries of the intertwining parishes of Willingale Doe, Willingale Spain and Shellow Bowells which shows the real reason as to why there are two churches in one churchyard. Each Church stands in its own churchard within it's own parish which adjoin one another. If you are interested I can send you a jpg of the sketch map.
The Parish of Willingale, as it is now known, has always attracted the interest of visitors in that it has two churches in one churchyard. This unusual, but not unique feature, has also been a subject of much conjecture among the locals whose speculations have earned them many a free pint of beer from visitors over the years.
The favourite story was that two sisters set out to build a church for the parish but got into so much argument over the details that they eventually went their separate ways and each built her own church. Unfortunately this romantic tale is spoilt by the fact that the two churches were built some two hundred years apart.
Originally there were two parishes. Willingale Spain whose church, is dedicated to St. Andrew, was built early in the 12th century by Hervey de Ispania from Epaignes who also built Spains Hall and gave his name to the parish. In the 14th century Hugh de Ou or D'eu came to live in the area and built a second much larger church, dedicated to St Christopher, for the second parish that became known as Willingale Doe.
The two parishes remained separate, each with its own church and Rector, until 1929. A third parish, Shellow Bowells, which also had its own church and Rector, had been incorporated into Willingale Doe somewhat earlier.
The precise reason the two churches were built on the same piece of consecrated ground is lost in the mists of time. The explanation almost certainly lies in the boundaries of the two parishes which were not only much intertwined, but Willingale Doe was all but split in half by Shellow Bowells which sliced into it like a wedge.
In fact, the two churches stand on the most central and convenient site for both parishes. The churchyard is bisected by the parish boundary that runs between the two churches so each stands in its own parish.
In the 1940s some of the older residents still referred to the village as Winnigul, at least that was how it sounded in their broad Essex brogue. However, one of the many early spellings of the name was Winigl and that may have led to a pronunciation that was handed down by word of mouth over the years.
The division of the farms and buildings in the original two parishes are as follows:
Willingale Doe: Diggins Farm (The Poplars), Gubbiss Farm, Duke's Farm, Torrell's Hall,Windmill Farm, Rowe's Farm, Warden's Hall, Hill Farm, Clapgates, Rockhills Farm, Bird's Green, the Bell Inn, Quires Green and Wall's Green.
Willingale Spain: Spain's Hall, Hodgkin's Farm, Bassett's Farm, Butler's Farm, Peartree Cottage, Hulkes Farm, Pigstye Green and Minson’s Wood.
I am a musician/singer. I sing regularly at the Duke University Chapel in Durham, NC. I enjoyed your photos of RAH. I was curious as to what the 's' in your name stands for, since we share a common name. Also, my ancestors are from England.
You probably dont remember me but I did work experience at Manders in the summer of 2003. Brought back some great memories seeing all the internals of the Albert Hall organ again. Some really groovy pictures!
What a Refreshing Surprise! I grew up in England so the photos brought back many memories. I studied art & design so I'm very impressed with this level of craftmanship etc. I think you guys are very lucky to do what you do.
Keep up the good work and thanks for the most relaxing and nostalgic experience I've had on the internet!
I came on this by chance,love the pictures of our beautiful Essex--who said it was dull--I must come back again when I have more time. And Atlanta too, another of my favourite places. Thanks for a few calm minutes Matthew!
Actually surfed in through TrafficSwarm. I've had several sites over the past years but have taken most of them down. Really enjoyed the photo galleries. My only claim to knowlege of GB is watching Coronation Street (over fifteen years) and the WWII blackout curtains (from Southampton) that hang in my bedroom window. Great job, here!
Hi, I find your photos so lovely! They are of special interest to me for two reasons(aside from the beauty and information)my daughter-in-law is from London,England (blighty)and my great grandparents came from parts of England and Wales. My son is in the military and has spent a lot of time in England,Wales and Scotland,so i have some great photos,but not as much information as i would like about all the places in them. Your site is very nice and i will visit often. Thanks for sharing! Bea Kunz,Petersburg,Tn.(USA)
Hi Mathew. Thanks for your kind comments about my walking site (and for signing my guestbook!). Glad you liked the 'compass arrows'! Really enjoyed looking around your site and listening to some of the bell and organ music.
What a gem of a website you have created Matt. It is too long since we have had a chat. Went to the Albert Hall opening do.... the organ sounds good, shame that so much of the second half was the Copeland. It would've been better with the Guilmant 1 or 2!