THREE weeks ago, Dianne Pye included in her column an Edwardian postcard showing St Paul’s Church, Wood Green, Wednesbury.
She quoted some details written on the reverse: "St Paul's Wood Green. C. Wallater rang his first peal at this church on November 28th 1903, in 2 hrs, 59 minutes at the first attempt. Also the second peal was rung here."
This reference was of great interest to John Ravenscroft of Willenhall, for Mr Christopher Wallater was his grandfather, and he has been able to supply more details of his bell-ringing prowess. Mr Ravenscroft writes: “He was a bell ringer for many years, starting at St Paul’s, Wednesbury, and eniung at St Giles’, Willenhall.
“As children, my brother and I were sometimes privileged to enter the bell tower at St Giles’ to watch the ringers. Over the years we wont on bell ringers’ outings, when we would visit an area and bells would be rung in several churches during the tour “We are still in possession of our grandfather’s set of 12 handbells, and they are still used occasionally”.
In a press cutting marking the occasion when Mr Wallater celebrated 50 years as a bell ringer it was stated that he had recently rung his 500th peal on the bells of St Giles’, where he had been conductor for 40 years, Furthermore, he had rung peals in 102 different towers in the country, and his memory went back as far as the Boer War, when he rang the rejoicing peals at Wednesbury Parish Church to proclaim the relief of Ladysmith.