The Great Bell
The Fable of Guymer and the Bell of Burgh le Marsh
Long, long ago, in the town of Burgh le Marsh, the beastly locals made their living from ‘wrecking’ – a wicked trick to confuse a struggling or lost ship amidst perilous and stormy weathers. A safety beacon would be lit on the rocky shores, hoping the captain would mistake it for safety and run aground, leaving the cargo ripe for looting the next day.
In 1629, Scotland’s famous Mary Rose, filled with precious fabrics, encountered a terrible storm nearby. The locals, evil as they were, saw this opportunity and prepared to light the beacon. However, on this fateful night, an elderly church warden named Guymer, fearing for the sailors’ lives, begged them to stop, but his cries fell on deaf ears.
Sure enough, the captain of the Mary Rose saw the light and commanded the ship’s hands to steer the ship towards the beacon, thinking it was safety.
Guymer had fight in him yet, having seen the ship turn, he ran to his church and began to ring the great bell, with every ounce of strength left in his bones.
As the ship drew near, the captain heard the bells, veering the ship to safety, narrowly avoiding utter devastation.
The very next day, Guymer was found with his tired hands still tightly wrapped around the church bell rope; but alas, he had utterly exhausted his weary body and had passed into the afterlife, giving his all to rescue those sailors.
Many years later, the captain returned to the church to have a silk rope installed for the church’s bell in honour of Guymer the church warden.