The original bell frame in St. George’s is for four bells and is very old; an addition for two bells is of a much later date. Six bells were cast by Thomas Mears of London in 1795. They were recast and provided with all new fittings by Gillett and Johnson of Croydon in 1910. Originally, the bells had been rung from a gallery which was removed in the restoration of 1890 which explains the long draught of rope.
There has been a good band of ringers for many years. The first peal 5,040 changes of Grandsire Doubles was rung in 1884 but even before that mostly Minor, changes on six bells was rung and there has been no other peal of Doubles by a local band. There has always been co-operation between the ringers of West Grinstead and Shipley.
During the 1914-18 war, owing to a shortage of ringers, a number of ladies took it up but did not carry on after the men returned as lady ringers were, unfortunately, rather frowned on at that time.
Regular service ringing was carried on until the late 1930s when the death of the captain, Harry Turrell, made it difficult to maintain a band. For about three years the bells were rung monthly with help from other towers.
Practices were resumed in 1933 and a band formed which in the late 1930s became one of the best six bell bands in the county. The World War took away some of the ringers and then the ban on ringing silenced all bells.
Re-establishing ringing after the ban was lifted was very difficult and it was only by co-operation between local towers that monthly ringing took place in the area.
Eventually the Partridge Green scout troop took up ringing and a regular Sunday service band was formed. Over a period of years something like two hundred people were taught to ring and most of our present day band are those who have stayed in the parish and continued to ring.
Probably the most important part in maintaining a band of ringers is a practice night. Since the 1880s this has been on Thursday at West Grinstead. Not only are new ringers taught, but all need to study and try to ring the more complex methods to make progress. Methods are to ringers what tunes are to musicians, all are different and vary in complexity.
On an average practice night the bells will first be raised in peal and then various methods rung, to suit all the members of the band. The methods may range from very simple to more complicated. The aim is to give each member three or four sessions of ringing during the evening. Ringers often visit other towers especially on practice nights. Arrangements are made for Sunday ringing if a member may be absent and so on. The practice ends with the bells being rung down.
Sunday ringing is always something that all the band is familiar with but, unfortunately, mistakes are always possible.