Bellringing at St Mary’s, Halkyn

This is a version of a short document that is sometimes given to visiting ringers

The six bells of St. Mary the Virgin, Halkyn were put into the tower in 1878.  There is no personal inscription on any of the bells, but each bell does bear the name of the bell foundry which cast all six bells.

The largest bell is just over 10 cwt (half a ton or 508kg), which is about the weight of a small family car.  Although this makes it sound as though you need some muscles to ring a church bell, most ringing is in the technique, and ringing is a hobby for all ages.

There are over 5000 sets of bells in Britain.  The art of change ringing can be separated from other forms of bell-ringing such as chiming, where a hammer or clapper is struck against a stationery bell. 

The ringing of bells is done by means of a rope and wheel, where the bell is swung through a whole circle by pulling the rope.  The bell will only strike once when swinging though a whol;e circle, thus enabling the timing and rhythym of each bell to be controlled.  Each bell is controlled by one person.

At St Mary’s the clock also uses the largest bell to strike the hour.  The clock works in much the same way as a grandfather clock, in that it has two weights that have to be wound up each week, one for the chime and the other to drive the clock itself.

The clock was put into the tower at the same time as the bells, by Joyce of Whitchurch, and it is serviced yearly.  The hammer that strikes the hour can be seen on the far side of the bell chamber and there is a mechanism to hold it away from the bell when the bells are being rung.

 

Bell Diameter Note Weight (cwt)
1 2′ 1 1/2″ F* 3-2-18
 2 2′ 3 1/2″ E 4-3-7
 3 2′ 5 1/2″  D 5-1-18
 4 2′ 6 1/2″  C* 5-3-21
 5 2′ 9 1/2″  B 7-3-7
 6 3′ 1 1/2″  A 10-2-21
       

Foundry – J. Taylor & Co., The Bellfoundry, Loughborough