The bells of St. Mary's, Tilston are rung before services on the second and fourth Sundays of each month as well as for weddings, special services, national occasions, celebrations and occasionally for funerals.

St.Marys tower3


About the bells

In 1925, four bells that dated from as early as 1665 were recast and augmented to the current ring of six. They are considered to be amongst the most tuneful rings of bells in the county and are relatively light; the heaviest bell weighs 9cwt 1stone and 2lbs (about 465kg) and is tuned in A.

 bellClick to hear our bells


Our band, which comprises beginners and experienced ringers from 14 years old to (much) older, meets every Thursday evening between 7.30 and 9:00pm to practice; on the first Thursday of every other month we travel to Tattenhall for a combined practice to share expertise.

Other ringing

Occasionally we receive requests for visitors to ring the bells. We try to accommodate visiting bands while keeping the amount of extra ringing acceptable to those living nearby. Any recent and upcoming visits will be listed in "News and Events" below.

News and events

Val Bonner, who started ringing in the last 12 months has graduated to ringing for Sunday services. Congratulations Val!

Learn to ring

We welcome newcomers to ringing. A three-month beginners' course is held each year. Starting in September/October, its aim is to train a small group of newcomers to learn to ring together and reach a level that enables them to join in with the band by Christmas.

St.Mary's bells are equipped with a "simulator" that allows the bells to be rung silently while the ringers hear computer generated sound. This enables additional practice ringing without creating a noise nuisance.

For more information on when we will be ringing and how to join our band, contact the Tower Captain by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or phone on 01829 250654 

For more information on bell ringing in general try

RINGERS' NOTICES (for the band)

The most recent changes are highlighted

Band for wedding Saturday 28th Sept. 12:40 ringing start is Fiona, Caroline, Steve, Jill, Simon and Dominic


2020 Striking contest

Please let me know if you are interested in being part of a St.Mary's band for the 2020 Branch 6-bell striking competition.


Sunday services

Please email the tower captain as soon as you know if UNAVAILABLE for regular Sunday service ringing (2nd and 4th Sundays) otherwise you will be assumed to be available for the band.

Any notification of unavailablity received by the tower captain should appear below. If it does not, please remind him!


















Adrian Donovan  yes  YES            
Caroline Johnson yes  YES            
Dominic Haughton no   NO            
Fiona Johnson yes  YES            
Jill Farmer yes  YES            
Jo Haigh                    
Shane Phoenix                
Simon Kettle poss.  YES            
Steve Farmer yes  YES            
Val Bonner    NO    no        

Chris Hocking is first reserve for Sunday ringing

If numbers drop below 5 ringing will be cancelled and notification posted here.

Weddings and extra services

Ringers will be invited to ring for weddings and extra services. Bands for each will be posted below. Times are START of ringing

Saturday 24th August Tilston wakes - suggested ringing for the arrival of the rush cart at the field Saturday 16:00 -16:30 or before the opening service 12:30 - 13:0 Sunday. 

Sunday 25th August (4th Sunday) 18:00 Memorial Service

Saturday 28th  September. Eva Mc Millan and William Thomas wedding. 12 o'clock service; ringing after the service at 12:40 only.

Sunday 13th October (2nd Sunday) 18:00 TBC Harvest Festival

Sunday 10th November (2nd Sunday) 09:45 TBC Service of Remembrance

Sunday 8th December (2nd Sunday)15:30 Christmas Tree Service
Sunday 15th December (3rd Sunday) 18:00 Carol service

Sunday 22nd December??tbc Carols at the Carden Arms

Tuesday 24th December, Christmas Eve, 23:00 midnight mass  

Wednesday 25th December, Christmas Day, 09:15 All age communion


St. Mary's practices

Practices start at 19:30 and will not normally be canceled even if numbers are low. Please arrive promptly so as to make the best use of the time available.

Email the tower captain if you are unable to attend so a plan can be made to best use the time, for example by revising handling 1-on-1, inviting Tattenhall ringers to visit or using the simulator.

Simulator practices

Silent simulator practices will be held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month . They will start at 19:30 and the simulator will be allocated in 30 minute pre-booked slots.

The aim is to use technology to make this practice more effective for learning and more efficient for those that attend. Specifically, there is no obligation to arrive before your slot or to stay after; you could ring a touch of 720 changes and be back home within 45 minutes of leaving.

This practice is for ringers who are competent at handling a bell. There will be no instruction, just help with running the simulator for your chosen exercise. You may want to concentrate on improving striking by ringing rounds in the company of 5 perfect (if virtual) ringers or increase your method ringing repertoire on 6 or more bells with touches called by the simulator, the choice is yours.

Bookings will only be taken in person at Thursday pactice.

    17 Sept             15 Oct               19 Nov       

Other towers' practices

Once you are able to strike basic methods well on five bells at St. Mary's, you can do a lot to improve your ringing by visiting other practices where the band is able to ring the methods you are learning. Tower captains at all the Branch towers welcome keen ringers that visit to learn in this way, but best practice is to make contact first to discuss your objectives.

When visiting any practice, you will be expected to have studied any method that you plan to attempt. The minimum is to have committed the blue line to memory, including the coursing order, the order of work and treble-passing cues.

Tattenhall practices

A joint practice is held with the Tattenhall band on the first Thursday of each month, alternating between the towers. Ringing will be at Tattenhall on the dates below, when there will be no practice at St. Mary's.

Next Tattenhall practice

5th September 2019 19:30 start. Three Tilston ringers attended the Tattenhall practice in July.

Malpas practices

Competent St. Mary's ringers have been invited to attend St. Oswald's practice on the second Wednesday of each month; ringing starts at 19:00.

The minimum standard is to be able to ring plain hunt on 6 competently and with good striking; if in doubt, please speak to the Tower Captain before attending this practice.

Methods will initially be Plain Bob doubles and minor plus Plain Hunt on 8. Please do your homework if you intend to come along.

Branch practices

The Chester Branch of the Diocesan Guild organises a programme of training and other activities. Training sessions that are suitable for our band are listed below with the date and location of the next session. The full programme of Chester Branch activities is available through from the menu at

Branch training events are highly recommended for any who are serious about learning to ring methods. However, you will be expected to know any method you want attempt thoroughly, so do your homework in advance so as not waste others' time. You can rehearse on paper, using a "method tutor" app or the St. Mary's simulator.

Training meetings

Helen Mitchell runs training meetings (a.k.a "ringing days") on Saturdays throughout the year. Two sessions, one at a 6-bell tower and one at an 8-bell tower, are held each day. They provide opportunities to ring new methods with the help of experienced ringers to stand behind and prompt when needed, or to consolidate methods already attempted at St. Mary's.

The 6-bell practice is usually in the morning and is aimed at those who can ring rounds and call changes and wish to progress to method ringing and those who are wishing to be competent ringing up to a plain course of Bob doubles or minor.

The 8-bell session is aimed at those who wish to progress to ringing plain courses of plain bob triples or major.

Next Branch training session

Training typically includes; Plain Hunt (on 5 and 6), plain courses of Plain Bob Doubles and Minor, up to and including touches.

Places will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. Please state your preference of either the morning OR afternoon session. Places will not be available on the day.

Cost: £5.00 per session.
Book your place with Helen This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – 01244 679004

General ringing:

These are aimed at all ringers from those able to ring rounds and call changes up to and including surprise ringers. St. Mary's ringers attend to practice will also get to hear more advanced ringing that may provide inspiration! 

Ringing master's practice:

The ringing master’s practices are aimed at competent change ringers wish to practice Stedman and surprise methods. This is the logical next step after attending Malpas practices and learning to ring advanced methods on 8 bells.


Here are a couple of exercises fro call change ringers moving to plain hunt/plain bob, which we can attepmpt during practices if you look at them in advance.


Progressive hunting

Blue lines

St. Mary's ringers wanting to progress with ringing methods should learn them in the following order to give the best chance of progressing individually and as a band

> Plain Hunt on 5 - one inside bell, all inside bells, treble, tenor

> Plain Bob Doubles - treble, tenor, one inside bell, all inside bells,

> Grandsire Doubles - treble, second (hunt bell), tenor, one inside bell, all inside bells 

> Bobs and singles in Plain Bob doubles

> Bobs and singles in Grandsire doubles

> Plain Bob Minor

> Minimus (4-bell) methods: Plain Bob > Reverse Bob > Double Bob > Reverse Canterbury


Bell dynamics

Rope dynamics (download and play the animated gif file) 

Ringing by ear; the best bit starts at 02:12 [do not try this at St. Mary's!]


Tower captain

Liaises with vicar/PCC and ringers; manages the tower on behalf of the incumbent and represents the tower externally

Arranges all ringing (services, practices, visiting bands etc)

Runs the practice night and trains ringers.

Organises social events.

Ensures appropriate policies are in place, in line with best practice and enforced. These include policies for

1) the protection of young people

(2) health & safety

(3) maintenance

(4) ringing frequency and sound control

With the steeple keeper and others, makes sure that any changes to health and safety risks are considered and action taken accordingly, and any maintenance that is sufficiently significant to require a faculty, is pursued in the proper manner.

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 01829 250654

Tower correspondent 

Receives and answers correspondence about the tower and bells

Forwards correspondence from the Branch/Guild to tower captain and others as appropriate.

Minutes tower meetings.

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 07751 838999

Steeple keeper 

Ensures proper and regular maintenance of the bells and bell frame.

Manages repairs and ensures all repairs are logged,

Ties clappers and muffles bells when necessary


Manages petty cash including donations from local and visiting bands.

Pays for minor repairs.

Liaises with the PCC treasurer to remit and draw on the bell account held by the PCC.




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