Holy Trinity, Meldreth - Bells

John Gipson

John has been synonymous with ringing at Meldreth for as long as anyone can remember. Wherever you go to ring, in this country or abroad, when you tell someone that you come from Meldreth, you will always be asked about John, or told about peals they have rung with him here. He is one of the only people still alive to have rung a peal before the Second World War.

As well as ringing the bells for more than 70 years and training several generations of new ringers, John has used his engineering experience to install and maintain the bells at Meldreth and many other towers in the area. He is pictured below with the new bells in 1968. He has also been Bell Advisor for the Ely Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers, inspecting many rings of bells.

John has always played an active part in the life of the church in Meldreth, as a churchwarden and a member of the choir. This picture shows him being recognised as an "unsung hero", an award given by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2009 - see article in the Weekly News.

John has rung over 3000 peals, of which 1669 have been rung at Meldreth, a world record. His most prolific year was 1992, with a total of 102 peals. He is also a member of the Ancient Society of College Youths, one of the foremost and oldest ringing societies in the country; John was elected in 1947 and has rung 134 peals with the society.

Notable dates

  • 1939 - John's first peal, March 9th
  • 1981 - John's 1000th peal, February 3rd
  • 1994 - John's 2000th peal, July 1st
  • 1998 - John's 1000th peal on the bells, including at least 100 on each bell, April 3rd
  • 2008 - John's 1500th peal on the bells, including at least 150 on each bell, July 5th - see articles in Ringing World and Royston Crow
  • 2011 - John's 3000th peal, October 28th - see article in Weekly News
  • 2012 - John's final peal, his 1669th on the bells, May 18th