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Bell Ringing

Bells are traditionally rung for Sunday Services, weddings and state and civic occasions. We have a small group of regular ringers and are always keen to recruit new people.

Bell ringing can be undertaken by people of any age from about 12 onwards and is both physically and mentally challenging. We practice every Monday evening from 7.30pm until 9.00pm and we do organise special practice times to teach new ringers when people are interested. If you are interested in joining us then please contact the Vicar.

St. Mary's Bells

There is a belief that St. Mary's first bell came from Egglestone Abbey in about 1690 which raises the question of where the bell had been since 1539 when the disestablishment of religious houses, including Egglestone Abbey, was completed by Henry VIII. What is certain is that six bells were hung in the tower in 1824, replacing the existing four bells, two of which had become unserviceable.

Church Bell Tower

Church Bells

A contemporary account shows that spaces were left for two further bells, to be purchased by public subscription. The original six bells (now 3-8) were cast by Mears of London and arrived in Barnard Castle amidst scenes of great rejoicing. The wagon which carried the bells was “decked out with flags and escorted by hundreds of the town’s inhabitants.”

The cost of the bells and their installation was defrayed by money from the sale of the old bells and by generous personal donations. The bells alone had cost £526.

There is a plaque commemorating the rehanging of the bells in November 1911 and is mounted on the wall of the ringing chamber.

The weights of the bells shown in the table below are measured in hundredweights, quarters and pounds.

Bell Number (Name)NoteDiametercwts.qtrs.lbs.Cast By (Year)
1 (Treble)F29.00"510John Warner & Sons (1866)
2E30.00"530John Warner & Sons (1866)
3D31.50"6116Thomas II Mears (1823)
4C33.63"7121Thomas II Mears (1823)
5B♭36.25"832Thomas II Mears (1823)
6A37.75"9011Thomas II Mears (1823)
7G41.50"12114Thomas II Mears (1823)
8 (Tenor)F46.50"1700Thomas II Mears (1823)

Information source: “St. Mary’s Tower Clock and Bells” by Alan Wilkinson/Peter Wise and Dave Bailey