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The Denbury Handbells

The Denbury Handbells were given by Mrs Coode of Denbury Manor to the (then) young men of the village between the World Wars. Harry Tozer, (uncle of Cyril Ellis) had first charge of them followed by; his brother, William Tozer, J.H. Easterbrook, Harry Lark, (later landlord, Union Inn), Bernard Osborn (East St), Cyril Ellis (husband of Mrs M. Ellis, West St) and then for 23 years by Mrs Ellis herself who passed them on to the present holder.

The first venue for ringing practice was the pig house behind 4/6 West Street, lit by a candle. On one occasion the candle was blown out and Harry Lark 'accidentally' received a cut ear from one of the bells. The bells were kept at the home of whoever had charge of them. The upstairs room of the Church Cottage, heated by a small oil stove, was later used for practice. The ringers would practise weekly from Christmas to Easter followed by a break until August when practice would restart in readiness for Christmas again.

Carolling Caroline The bells were rung in public to collect for Charity, particularly at Christmas when they would accompany the Carol Singers round the village. This tradition was revived at Christmas 2000 and has been continued. Villagers interested in ringing the handbells will find details under Clubs & Societies.

Information courtesy of Mrs M. Ellis of West St, Denbury.

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