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Bell ringers

Bell ringers at South Petherwin Church


We have SIX really good bells in our Tower and a very loyal ‘band’ of ringers. Bell ringing has been an integral part of the Church for generations. Our ‘oldest’ bell is almost 300 years old and the youngest is only 8 years old and is the only Queen’s Diamond Jubilee cast bell in Cornwall. Originally the ringing chamber was on the floor at the west end of the church, but some thirty years ago a new elevated ringing room was created and the bells are now rung from here. In 2012 all the bells were re-tuned by Taylors of Loughborough and on return were blessed at a special service by Bishop Tim.

Bell ringing (campanology) is fun. Both ladies, men and youngsters take part and ringers can vary in age from 11-90. We like to think that we are a very ‘friendly’ tower and always welcome anybody who would like to see what ringing is all about. Just make contact and come and ‘hang on a sally’ – the bell rope, in Cornish Colours, of course! We try to practice on a Monday evening throughout the year (except in August) from 7.30pm – and we always finish by 9.00pm (we want to keep the village and neighbours on side). Albeit there is a very serious side to it, requiring skill rather than ‘brute force’. It calls for concentration, listening, vigilance and balance.

Normally the bells are hanging down at rest when we start ringing, and before we start ringing pattens (changes) the bells have to be raised vertically. And, if you hear the bells sounding faster and faster at the end of a session, then they are being lowered to rest.

Sometimes we have ‘visiting bands’ to ring for an hour or so, as our bells are very popular for their pitch and tone.

The bells are also used to strike remotely for the Village Clock, which was installed in 1910 to mark the ascension to the throne of George V.  They chime both the ‘quarters’ on two bells, and the hour on the Tenor, the largest bell we have.

Bells were originally the call to all that it was ‘time for Church’. More recently, in addition to ringing before main services, they are rung in celebrations of many kinds – marriages, christenings, New Year, and sometimes only a single bell ‘tolled’ in memory of someone who has recently passed away.

Contacts: Tower Captain – Nigel Parker  (01566 451 653); Ringing Master -Malcolm Wright (01566 776 302)