East Molesey, St Mary the Virgin
Practice Night: Tuesday
Ringing Times: Sunday Service: 8.30-9.00am. Practice: 7.45-9.15pm
Entry: Entry is through the North Door of the church to ground floor ringing chamber
Contact: Tower Captain: email@example.com Jane Marsters
Additional Information: Car park on main road near the church. Free for 3 hours (with ticket!). Toilet in church
Molesey is supposed to mean “Mul’s Island”; it has always been partly surrounded by the waters of the Thames and Mole rivers, but is now even more so since a group of reservoirs appeared between Molesley and Walton-on-Thames.
A word of warning to ringing visitors: do not just arrive in the village and expect to see the church. St Mary’s is quite inconspicuous, off the Walton Road (B369), as there are several other churches in the parish with equally large towers. Although now over a century old St. Mary’s occupies a very ancient site of worship.
How the current church came to be built is a lively story. The “repair or rebuild” question first raised its head in 1842. A property developer, Mr. Kent, offered a site for a new church in 1852 and money towards the cost. The “New” and the “Old” Church factions quarrelled over the suggestion. The new church (St. Paul’s) was built anyway, but the Churchwardens refused to accept it as the Parish Church. In 1863, St. Mary’s, the old church, conveniently caught fire and, although the damage was not severe, the “rebuilders” finally won. In October 1865 the new church was consecrated and dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin.
It had to wait until 1889 for its bells: a ring of 8 installed by Mears and Stainbank incorporating 2 of the former 3 bells. There are a number of inscriptions on the bells. The bells are hung in a wooden frame with the two smallest on an upper level above the other six. The benefit of a major overhaul in 1975 covered all fittings, headstocks and bearings together with improved roping and new ropes resulting in a lovely ring.