The Ringing World is a weekly UK publication for bellringers. I don't normally read it, but whilst browsing through some back-copies during a lull in the ringing, I encountered the following article, which I reproduce (errors excepted) verbatim (p 1011: Oct 22 1999). The previous article mentioned merely references the Yeti's version of the well-known song The Bell Ringing. I don't know Ken Jagger, but I'm sure he won't mind my plagiarising his article. The song is not on the only Songwainers' album I posess.
Peter Wenham's article (p 938) posed the question whether there are any other Folk songs with a ringing theme. Searching through some old tapes, which I had recorded some years back from the radio programme Folkweave, resulted in locating this song about the achievements of one particular Cornish band. It was I think sung by the Songwainers and contains a certain amount of poetic licence, although wider meanings of some words are perhaps relevant. It goes something like this:
Now all you ringers good and grave come listen to me peal,
I'll tell you of five ringers brave that lived in Egloshayle.
They bear the swinging ring array wheree'er they chance to go.
Good music of melodious bells 'tis their delight to show.
The foreman gives a signal, he steps along with a toe.
He casts his eye about them all and gives the sign to go.
Away they pull with courage full; the heart it do revive
To hear them swing and music ring, one, two, three, four and five.
There's Craddock the cordwainer first that rings the treble bell.
The second is John Ellery, who none may him excel.
The third is Pollard, carpenter, the fourth is Thomas Cleeve.
Goodfellow is the tenor man that rings them round so brave.
They went up to Lanlivery and took away the prize.
Then they went to Sun Tudy and there they did likewise.
There's Stratton men, St. Mabyn men, St. Issey and St. Kew,
But these five lads from Egloshayle can all the rest outdo.
Now to conclude my merry task, the Sovereign's health will join.
Stand every man and pass the flask and drink his health in wine.
And here's to Craddock, Ellery, and here's to Thomas Cleeve,
To Pollard and the tenor man that rings them round so brave.
As with many traditional Folk songs it is likely to contain a grain of truth. Does this suggest an earlier era of five bell competition ringing in the West Country, when many towers had only this number of bells, and were the ringers referred to in this song merely fictitious, or were they immortalised in or around their home tower?