Welcome to the top level page about Bell Ringing and the Tower at Nantwich, where you can learn a bit about the Nantwich Bell Ringers and what they get up to in the Tower. You will also find an invitation to learn about what it takes to become a bell ringer. Contact information is tucked away at the bottom of this page.
The following information may be found on additional pages:
- Details of the Bells
- There are eight bells in the tower. For more information about these bells (dates, inscriptions, weights, etc.), please click: Details of the Bells.
- Sounds of the Bells
- To hear the bells being rung in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons, please click: Sounds of the Bells. Here is a snippet to whet your appetite:
- An Exploration of the Church Clocks
- To read about the present church clock and its possible predecessors, please click: The Church Clocks.
The ringers are also putting together some additional information covering:
- the History of the Bells at Nantwich
- some Local Ringers through the Ages
- an Introduction to Church Bell Ringing
- the History and Structure of the Tower and the Roof Spaces at Nantwich
These will be linked from here when ready and a notification of their publication will be provided in the newsletter.
The Nantwich Bell Ringers
The Nantwich Bell Ringers are a group of people from a wide variety of stages and walks of life. They range from students studying at local schools to folk eligible to study at the University of the Third Age, and include some who work for their living. The ringers are always happy to welcome visitors to the tower, whether they are ringers from elsewhere or local people interested in seeing what goes on in the tower; their lair is the Ringing Chamber which is located about level with the clerestory (the top layer of windows on the church).
The ringers practise on a Thursday evening from 7pm to 9pm, and they ring for services twice on Sundays and occasionally at other times during the week.
Many of the ringers are members of the Chester Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers (to which the tower is affiliated) and they also participate in ringing events both locally and further afield. From time to time they ring together to celebrate or commemorate notable events, and they even ring just for the joy and challenge of ringing well together as a team (the photo to the right shows the band who rang in a Striking Competition at Warmingham in March 2019).
The ringing you will hear ranges from Rounds and Call Changes to Method Ringing.
The Methods rung include:
- Plain Bob Doubles, Minor, Triples & Major
- Grandsire Doubles & Triples
- Single Oxford Bob Triples
- Stedman Doubles & Triples
On occasions, the ringing may include some Surprise Methods, but these more intricate methods usually require some help from visiting ringers.
Learning to Ring
Let’s assume you’ve read the bit above about the Nantwich bell ringers and you are [still!] interested in what’s involved in becoming a bell ringer.
We are there to help you; we can explain and demonstrate how you may learn to ring (naturally this involves having a go under trained supervision) and inform you about the benefits that may be gained. You may have questions: how old or how strong do you have to be…?; do you need to be musical, a churchgoer, a descendant of Quasimodo…? Well, rather than try to answer all these here, have a look at an article called Sonnez les matines! written for the This Month magazine by Fanny, one or our recent recruits. Fanny, as you may have guessed, is French and knew nothing of English Church Bell Ringing until she moved into a flat less than 200 yards from the tower!
Paul, our Curate, also joined the ringers recently. Having attended a training day in February 2020, he wrote an article for the This Month magazine called Ding Dong Merrily on High! This will give you some insight into one of our teaching methods. The photo above right shows Paul being taught to ring the backstroke by Nicola.
Having got this far, and perhaps having read of Fanny and Paul’s experiences, the best thing for you to do now is to get in touch with us (see below) and we can arrange to meet you in the tower and “show you the ropes” (yes, I know, the old ones are not always the best!).
All of our processes and activities have a strong focus on safeguarding, so if you are lucky enough to be under the age of 18 you will need to bring a parent with you on your first visit to the tower (we can put them to the rope too!).
Other Activities Performed by the Ringers
Other activities that occupy some of the ringers’ time include:
- Winding the Clock
- The Bell Ringers also look after the church clock, which was installed in 1892 and is still wound by hand twice a week. An article about the clock and its possible predecessors can be found by clicking: The Church Clocks.
- Flying the Flag
- The Bell Ringers also fly various flags from the top of the tower on notable occasions. An article about this can be found by clicking: Flying the Flag.
If you would like to visit the tower, explore learning to ring, or to find out more, please contact:
41 Welsh Row
Phone: 01270 628900
We may also be contacted through the Parish Office.
|20/10/2020||Initial publication (major revision to previous page).|
|13/03/2021||Updated Covid-19 information; introduced lower-resolution images in the main page (to reduce page loading time) and added image titles and links to higher resolution images; typographical and other minor structural changes.|
|14/05/2021||Updated Covid-19 information; added link to the recently issued version 3.0 of the Risk Assessment for Bell Ringing at St Mary’s, Nantwich during the Covid-19 pandemic.|
|05/01/2022||Updated to reflect version 4.0 of the Risk Assessment for Bell Ringing at St Mary’s, Nantwich during the Covid-19 pandemic and version 1.0 of the Current Risk Mitigation Factors for Bell Ringing at St Mary’s, Nantwich documents.|
|16/03/2022||Updated to reflect version 2.0 of the Current Risk Mitigation Factors for Bell Ringing at St Mary’s, Nantwich document.|