St. Andrew’s Day is on Wednesday 30th November and this year is a particularly special occasion as it provides an opportunity to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the bells in the church. A complete ring of six new bells was cast by Abraham Rudhall II of Gloucester in 1722 (although the tenor bell was recast in 1890 and again in 2003).

To mark this historic occasion and celebrate three centuries of the bells providing the background music to the rich tapestry of parishioners’ lives, the following events are planned:

26th November – 4th December: A display about the history of the bells and ringers in St. Andrew’s Church. You will be able to read about

  • Rev. Barnabas Alderson – ‘the singing vicar’ from 1722 – (a very naughty vicar!)
  • The time the ringers got locked out of the church in the 1830’s because of concerns about drunken revelry
  • 17th, 18th and 19th century neglect of the church – ‘our parish church is all fallen down to ye ground, Tower and all’!
  • Bell ringer and first-class cricketer, Rev. Charles Gough Littlehales from the 1930’s
  • The bell restorations of 1890, 2003 and 2021
  • And much, much more.

26th November: A full “peal” of 5,040 changes will be attempted from 10.30 a.m. for the first time since 1986. Following this there will be an open session for visitors from 1.30 pm -3.00 pm. This will be an opportunity to see the bells in action, have a go (under supervision) if you wish and ask any questions that you might have. Some of you might even have your own recollections about the bells that you can share. Tea and coffee will be available, and you can also browse the history display.

30th November: Local ringers will ring a quarter peal before the service at 7pm for St. Andrew’s Day and of thanksgiving for the bells – everyone welcome. During the service, the Platinum Jubilee Cross will be dedicated [the cross was made specially for the Queen’s 70th anniversary as monarch in June 2022 by two of our parishioners: it re-used old timbers salvaged from the remainders of the porch gate].

Jubilee Cross on the altar

We do hope you will be able to share in the celebrations for this historic occasion.

Nick Chapman (tower-captain) & Yvonne Chapman (history department!)