On St Thomas’ Day, the bells were rung at 5.00am, more to celebrate the Dighton Charity than St. Thomas! Lister Dighton, in his Will, stipulated that the interest from his gift of £20 be spent on bread to be given to the poor of Clifford Chambers on St. Thomas’ Day. The villagers looked forward to the visit of Squire Mason. He gave every family a loaf of bread. Mr. Chambers of Lower Quinton gave 6d to every woman if she went and collected it, and Miss Chambers presented a book and clothing to any Clifford woman expecting her confinement. Later in the day, the women went to the Manor and received a pint of wheat which they took to the mill and had changed for flour. This was given towards their Christmas pudding.
Coal was also given on this day, and the men, in the late afternoon, would race along the green with their wheelbarrows in order to be the first at the Manor to receive the coal.
Certainly a Day worth ringing the bells for at 5.00am!
The tolling of the bell
Clerk Lively tolled the bell when anyone died in the Parish. On the morning following the death, he would toll it 8 times. On the morning of the actual funeral, he would toll the bell 8 times for one hour, and continue doing this every alternate hour until the funeral. This was for the death of a man. The death of a woman involved a smaller number of tolls, and for a child, a far smaller number.