The Bells at St Mark's
Worsley can boast a fine peal of 10 bells at St Mark, tuned to the key of D. Such rings of 10 are relatively rare. Of Manchester Diocese's 57 sets of bells, the only other set of 10 bells is at Manchester Cathedral
An Ellacombe Chiming Apparatus is also installed. This enables the bells to be struck by one or two players, and hymn tunes to be played, continental-style. (This is how the bells are played at weddings)
Not surprisingly, the bells attract visiting ringers from many parts of the country, and are much-loved locally. Many peals in excess of 5,000 changes, taking over three hours, have been rung and recorded. Our own team rings each Sunday at 10.30am and 6.30pm
A Brief History
- 1846 - When St Mark’s was consecrated in 1846, there were three bells
- 1873 - When the Marquis of Normanby was Vicar, this was extended to a full octave of eight bells at a cost of £583, three given by the Earl of Ellesmere in thanksgiving for the birth of his son Viscount Brackley, and two paid for by public subscription. They were dedicated on Ascension Day, when a band of Bolton ringers rang a peal of Grandsire Triples
- By the 1920s, restoration was needed as the bells were described at the time as ‘a mixed lot, not very well in tune’
- 1934 - Major work was needed on the bellchamber. On the advice of Canon H.J. Elsee (president of the Lancashire Association of Change Ringers) the bells were recast and remodelled by Taylors of Loughborough, and two new bells added, to make a ring of ten. With the addition of new metal (copper and tin), the tenor was increased from 20cwt (1020kg) to 24cwt (1225kg). The two new trebles weighed 4cwt (200kg). The peal was tuned on the ‘Taylor true harmonic system’. The bells were hung in a new metal frame, and up-to-date fittings were incorporated. At the same time, the chiming apparatus, a gift from Boothstown and Ellenbrook, was installed. The total cost of all this work was £930; one of the bells was a memorial to the soldiers, doctors and nurses stationed at Worsley Hall during the First World War, when it was a Red Cross Hospital. The new bells were dedicated on 19 October 1935 by the Archbishop of York
Want to know more about bellringing?
Can you believe that you don't need to be musical to ring bells?
Ringing is within the intellectual and physical reach of anyone who can ride a bicycle. If you can count, you know all the mathematics you need. You can become a very good ringer without knowing anything else about music. Links to two external websites regarding change ringing can be found below:
Play the bells
Change Ringing Overview
Interested? Why not visit?
Nowadays, many local school groups visit the church as part of the National Curriculum, and they are usually shown the bells and shown how they are rung. Adult visitors are always welcome - new access ladders and platforms installed in 1999 above the ringing chamber, make it possible to see the bells. See Contacts Page
New members are always welcome. Practice night is Tuesday at 7:30pm