Bands and Bells; Weymouth’s Christ Church Gets Ringing. Royal Madras Fusiliers.

Having the army in town had many advantages, especially music wise, not least to the local community, as demonstrated by just one of many occasions where military bands were called upon to play.

They were more than happy to oblige.

Taken from book II Nothe Fort & Way Beyond (under editing) with extractions from local papers of the times. (1874)

Bandsmen took up their instruments once again. This time in support of Weymouth’s townswomen. It was the turn of the 102nd regiment, Royal Madras Fusiliers who had recently taken over the Verne barracks from the departing 4-60th Rifles. They were playing at the Peal of Bells for Weymouth fund-raising bazaar being held in the New (Alexandra) gardens, though sadly the weather was very much against them all. Wind and rain played havoc with the town’s ladies tents and displays of home made goods.

Weymouth, it appears, despite being a town

of such pretensions and possessing for churches’ had been ‘lacking altogether a peal of bells.

That was until the completion of Christ Church opposite Weymouth’s train station, whose

foundations has been especially prepared, and on it stands a tower that can endure the shock of any number of bells, and we expect at no distant future to hear their joyous clatter resounding across the bay on any occasions of thanksgiving or rejoicing that may call for such demonstrations; so that soon shall we hear from the belfry of our church the exhilarating clangour.

Weymouth’s Christ Church showing bell tower in King Street © Channel Coast Observatory website

In the end, despite battling the horrendous weather over their two day event, the women managed to raise £200 towards the bells.

Local MP Mr Edwards also

‘generously presented to the Rector of Melcombe Regis a peal of eight bells to be placed in the tower of Christ Church.’

The women’s proceeds of the bazzar went towards

machinery for chiming the bells, thus saving the expense and trouble of ringers.

I wonder if Weymouth rang in 1875 in exhilarating clangour style?