Our regular ringers come from all ages and all walks of life. Among our number we count teachers, students, doctors, publicans, aircraft engineers, members of the clergy, civil engineers, gardeners, and even a retired anaesthetist.
After ringing for the Sunday morning service at the cathedral, many of our ringers go on to other churches in the area to support them with ringing for their services. Some are members of the choir at St Ann’s and can regularly be seen sprinting from the cathedral to St Ann’s to catch the last ten minutes of rehearsal before their service begins.
The cathedral band is one of the most active within the Manchester branch of the Lancashire Association of Change Ringers, and we also enjoy a very close relationship going back many years with the Manchester Universities’ Guild of Change Ringers, who are based nearby at the church of Sacred Trinity, Salford.
Our team of Bell ringers meet most Wednesday evenings to practice and also enjoy an active social life together, often retiring for a drink and a chat after each practice.
The ten bells in the cathedral tower, in the key of D, were cast in 1925 by Gillett & Johnston of Croydon, and hang on a single level at the bottom of the louvres in the 1867 oak frame by John Taylor & Co. of Loughborough in which the previous, lighter ring of ten bells was hung. This frame was modified by G&J in 1925 to accept the new, heavier bells.
The bells are rung in the traditional English full-circle style, in which each bell is swung through a full circle first one way and then the other by means of a rope attached to a wheel, striking once with each revolution. Each bell is rung by an individual ringer located in the ringing chamber lower in the West Tower. By skilfully controlling when each bells swings and strikes, the ringers are able to vary the order in which the bells strike - these are known as ‘changes’.
The lightest bell, the treble, weighs 5cwt (cwt=hundredweight), 2qts and 14lbs (approx. 286kg) and the heaviest, the ‘tenor’, weighs 27cwt, 3qts and 6lbs (approx. 1,412kg), about the same weight as a family car. These are not the heaviest bells in Manchester hung for full-circle ringing, however: the clock tower of the Town Hall also contains a ring of thirteen change-ringing bells, the heaviest of which weighs about 2,170kg.
More information about bell ringing
What is change ringing? www.ringing.info/beginners/ringing.html
Lancashire Association of Change Ringers, Manchester branch: www.lacr.uk/branch/manchester-branch
Manchester Universities’ Guild of Change Ringers: www.mugcr.co.uk/
To find out more about our bell ringers or to get involved email: email@example.com