After the augmentation to eight in 1888 a new band of ringers was trained with the help of the towers at St. Peter’s, Bournemouth and St. Thomas’s Salisbury.
Before the Swanage bells were available the ringers would, on Saturday afternoons, travel by boat from the new pier for practice at Bournemouth, courtesy of the Weymouth Steamboat Company.
The new band made good progress for on Thursday 4th December 1890 they rang the first Quarter Peal, by an all local band, of Grandsire Triples conducted by their Tower Captain, Lambert L. Rose.
From then on until the early 1930s Swanage was in the forefront of the development of change ringing in Dorset and within the Salisbury Diocesan Guild of Ringers. Grandsire, Kent, Stedman and Double Norwich were regularly rung for service and on one recorded occasion Studland Minor.
The tower is fortunate in that good records have been maintained by the ringers – the visitors and ringing records dating back to 1891. The ringers turned out for every national and local occasion both happy and sad, including the sinking of the Titanic and the marriage and birth of members of the Royal Family.
Captains of Ringers since 1888
Lambert H. Rose 1888 – 1891
Walter J. Bastable 1891 – 1910
George J. Williams 1910 – 1933
Walter J. Bastable 1933 – 1936
Following George William’s resignation Walter Bastable had agreed to act as ‘temporary Captain’. No permanent Captain was appointed in 1936 and the Tower Correspondent, J.B.M. Ridout agreed to look after ‘general arrangements’ until the appointment of Frank Haysom in 1945.
G. Frank Haysom 1945 – 1952
Frank Haysom resigned in 1952 and, despite efforts he could not be persuaded to continue. In the light of several years of ‘meagre attendances’ and in the absence of ‘anyone capable’ the post was left vacant for the year of 1952.
R. F. Price 1953 – 1954
Cyril M. Turner 1954 – 1955
William S. Brown 1955 – 1957
Henry Woodhouse 1957 – 1959
William R. Damer 1959 – 1976
E. Twell Smith 1976 –
Geoffrey Charles Coffin
David Haysom 19 – 2006
Matthew Pike 2006 - 2010
Sally Jenkins 2010 - 2017
Matthew Pike 2017 to present
Walter J. Bastable - Tower Captain 1891 – 1910, and 1933-36
George J. Williams - Tower Captain 1910 – 1933
J.B.M. Ridout - Tower Correspondent for 25 years
Harry Mitchell - Swanage ringer - killed in action in Belgium, 31st July 1917