The bells of St. Mary's 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.
Striving for excellence to delight our community.
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.
St. Mary's bellringers take measures to ensure their activities comply with the church's safeguarding policies and that all ringing is led by suitably qualified individuals, A policy covering the proper supervision of ringing exists to ensure that safeguarding and physical safety during ringing are given the priority they deserve.
Our band comprises beginners and experienced ringers from 15 years old to (much) older. We practice at St. Mary's every Thursday between 7.30 and 9:00pm except on the first Thursday of every other month when we go to Tattenhall for a combined practice to share expertise.
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
St. Mary's hosted the AGM of the Chester Branch of the Chester Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers on Saturday 16th November.
More than 20 members of the guild enjoyed ringing between 14:00 and 15:30. Ringing was followed by a short service lead by the Reverend Canon Ian Davenport, tea and the AGM at which Val Bonner, a recent recruit to the St. Mary's band, was elected to membership of the Branch.
The Branch chairman thanked all at St. Mary's for hosting the meeting at short notice. This is well-deserved by Jil and Steve Farmer, who opened up, set up and and closed up the church and Jo Haigh and Val for their help serving tea.
Wednesday 18th December: A quarter peal will be attempted between 11:30 to 12:30 ringing should last around 40 minutes.
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 ringing simple 'rounds' 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 bell ringing in general try https://cccbr.org.uk/what-is-bell-ringing/
RINGERS' NOTICES (for the band)
The most recent changes are highlighted in yellow
Thanks to all who attended the tower meeting on Saturday 16th November. Click here to view the draft minutes .
Steve made the meeting aware of the comprehensive maintenance policies he has drawn up and pointed out the necessity for following these to ensure the validity of the Ecclesiastical Insurance policy that covers our activities.
For the same reason the existing policy covering the supervision of ringing has been documented. All ringers should be aware of this. Click here to read the policy.
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.
Please email the tower captain as soon as you know if UNAVAILABLE for any regular Sunday service ringing (2nd and 4th Sundays).
Any notification of availability or unavailablity received should appear below by 18:00 on the Saturday before ringing.
The objective is to have at least 6 ringers on Sunday mornings. Ropes will be shared if there are more. If there is a full band listed below and you prefer not to ring feel free to let the tower captain know.
*Chris Hocking may be available for Sunday ringing
** subject to wrist injury
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
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
New Year's Eve - Let me know if you would like to ring the New Year in.
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.
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 practice.
|17 Dec||21 Jan||8 Feb|
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.
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
2nd January 2020 19:30 start.
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.
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 http://www.cdg-chesterbranch.org.uk/
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.
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
Saturday 14th December 2019
10am – 12 noon Tarvin Plain hunt and Plain Bob doubles
2pm – 3.30pmTarporley Plain Bob Triples
Please let Helen Mitchell know by Tuesday 10th December
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.
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.
Everything you ever wanted to know about ringing (and much, much more)
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.
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 http://www.ringbell.co.uk/methods/ph5.htm
> Plain Bob Doubles - treble, tenor, one inside bell, all inside bells, http://www.ringbell.co.uk/methods/pb5.htm
> Grandsire Doubles - treble, second (hunt bell), tenor, one inside bell, all inside bells http://www.ringbell.co.uk/methods/gs5.htm
> Bobs and singles in Plain Bob doubles
> Bobs and singles in Grandsire doubles
> Plain Bob Minor http://www.ringbell.co.uk/methods/pb6.htm
> Minimus (4-bell) methods: Plain Bob > Reverse Bob > Single Court > Double Bob > Reverse Canterbury
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!]
Wednesday 30th October: A visiting band, with ringers from the Chester and Liverpool, rang a peal of spliced 6-bell methods in 2 hours and 30 minutes. Click the link to hear the first four minutes of the peal >
Liaises with vicar/PCC and ringers; manages the tower on behalf of the incumbent and represents the tower externally
Appoints a deputy to act in his/her absence
Arranges and authorises 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
(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.
or deputy tower captain, Jill Farmer.
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.
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.