St Mary's Ecclesfield has a ring of 10 bells
The heaviest (the Tenor) weighs 14cwt 1qr 22lb or 734kg
The bells are in the top part of the tower (the belfry), the room behind the wooden louvre windows. The louvres allow the sound out but keep the weather and birds from getting in. The bell frame is just below the level of the louvre windows so that the sound has to rise and mix before it escapes to the wider world. This improves the sound quality and stops a bell near a particular window from sounding louder than the others. Before they can be rung in changes, the bells must be rung up to their raised position (upside down). Once there, they rotate full circle and strike once, then rotate back full circle and strike once more. The motion is controlled by the ringer through the rope. It is this control that allows a ringer to place a bell in the right place in the changes. The photo below shows the bells in the raised (up) position.
The bells viewed from above, they are in the 'up' position
The bells are arranged in the bell frame so that they turn at 90 degrees to each and in opposite directions, this evens out the dynamic loads on the tower. Each bell swings on double row self-aligning ball bearings.
In 2011 the bells were removed from the tower by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in preparation for adding two more bells. They were taken to the foundry in London where retuning was carried out to five of the original eight bells. No tuning work was carried out to the ninth. Two were recast (the third and fourth) and two brand new bells were cast (the first and second). All the bearings were replaced and the wrought iron clappers refurbished with new crown staples and stainless steel pivot pins. New framework was added to the existing frame to take the extra two bells and to reorder the others. The newly augmented bells were rung for the first time on Thursday 1st December 2011. The Rededication service was held on Saturday 11th February 2012.
A reading - The Bells by Revd. Dr. Alfred Gatty
We would like to thank our benefactor who kindly offered to pay for the two new bells and all individuals, charities and other organisations who contributed to the appeal. Thanks also to the Sheffield Branch of the Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers, who funded the cost of recasting one of the original bells.
For more information see: www.ecclesfieldtower.org.uk
History in the making
Pictures and videos of the casting of the two new Bells
At the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London
Representatives from St Marys visit the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London to see the new bells cast.
The Bells will be put on display in the church later in the summer and if all goes to plan the works will be completed by the end of January 2012 when there will be a service of dedication
Alwyne Hill Phil Hirst.
Stuart Hawley John Fryer Janet Gledhill Daniel Hartley Stuart Armeson Andrew Robinson
Tom Proctor Arthur Gilpin.
Become a Tower Bell Ringer at St. Mary's
"A timeless art, carried out by generations of ringers since the end of the 17th century."
We need some more people learning to ring at Ecclesfield
It could be the interest you are looking for
There is a place for you.
Church bell ringing is a team activity that is good mental exercise; it challenges you to use your brain and helps to keep you fit. In learning to ring you will be part of a global group of friends, start a lifelong learning experience, maintain a traditional skill and serve your community. It is a fun hobby open to everyone.
Ringing does not require a large amount of effort, only an ability to count, a sense of timing, a willingness to ring for Sunday services and attend practice nights as often as possible. No musical knowledge is needed and no music is used. Ringing is well within the capabilities of most people.
There's a social side to ringing, too. Ringers visit other towers (there are 5,000 in the UK), and most enjoy keeping a record of where they have been. We arrange outings to other parts of the UK, ringing in some lovely towns and villages, seeing the sights and usually a nice pub lunch, picnic, chip shop to finish off the day.
It doesn't matter what age you are, adults and young people are all welcome. Children must attend with a parent or carer on their first visit and first lessons and should be at least 11 years old. We have a Child Protection Policy.
Our practice night is Tuesday from 7.30 pm to 9.00 pm. We hold an additional practice on Friday from 7.30 pm to 9.00 pm using the computer ringing simulator, which enables us to practice without the bells being audible outside the tower.
Why not come along and see what we do? Access is via the back of the church, through the small wooden door opposite the old vicarage and up the spiral stairs. Alternatively, please get in touch with us or visit our website.