There are a couple of special occasions coming up for which we shall be ringing St Peter’s bells. The first of these is before a St Peter’s day service on Sunday the 11th June (the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul is actually on the 29th). We will be starting ringing at about 9am.
The next occasion is the following Thursday (the 15th June) starting at 7pm. We are taking part in BBC Music Day 2017 when towers all over the country will be ringing simultaneously (see BBC Music Day). Last year almost 250 towers participated, but this will be the first time St Peter’s Macclesfield takes part.
Last week we took delivery of a new set of 8 muffles for the bell clappers, hand-made by Big Wilf’s Bell Muffles. These are used to half-muffle the sound of the bells on occasions such as Remembrance Sunday. The picture shows four of them.
Before we can use these however we will need to coat the clappers with a non-slip paint, and in preparation for this a group of the ringers spent part of Sunday afternoon wire-brushing loose rust off. The picture was taken after we had finished, with the camera rather precariously balanced on the headstock of the seventh bell. Thanks to all who helped!
You will all be relieved to know that the tower clock is now going again following it’s repair. We may need to adjust it’s rate, but otherwise all should be back as it was. The new pendulum spring should be good for at least another 30 years.
You may have noticed that the tower clock isn’t going. This isn’t because of laziness on the part of those who wind it, but is because the pendulum has dropped off. In the picture you can see that the piece of spring metal which supports the pendulum and allows it to swing has sheared off where it connects to the clock’s frame. This is normal wear and tear: the spring is reckoned to last 50 years or so.
The good news is that the remains are now in the hands of Smith of Derby who maintain the clock. They will produce a replacement and return to fit it. At the same time they will also replace a worn brass cam follower that controls the chimes every quarter or an hour: these have been rather erratic recently.
Drop in any time between 2.00pm – 4.30pm Free
The local area was always known as “The Common”. We’ve gathered stories and photos from people round about to piece together its story. In the past there was coal mining, poaching, hunting and a copper works. Come and find out more – or maybe you’ll have something to add!
In 1947 St Peter’s bells were brought to the church by lorry in a procession from the station. They were paid for by public subscription: did one of your relatives contribute? We’ll have the subscribers’ book on display. Come along, meet the ringers and find out more about the bells and how they are rung. The bells will be rung at regular intervals during the afternoon.
Gardens for Everyone
We are working on opening up the land around the church to the community. We already have crops growing on the old school playground behind the church. Now we have plans to turn the open land next to Barber Street into a community garden. Come along, look at the plans and add your comments and ideas.
As part of the Heritage Open Days in 2016, St Peter’s will be opening its bell tower on Thursday 8th September from 7.30pm to 8.30pm.
The bells at St Peter’s were cast as a war memorial in 1947 following a public subscription. Thursday evening is an opportunity to meet with the new band of ringers who will show you around and explain what happens and future plans. We hope to have a live camera link to the bells.
Note that access to the tower is via a narrow staircase.
The last four of the new ropes were hung on 7th August, completing the set of eight.
The Hanging Party
Thanks to all who helped!
Last week Richard and Roger installed an experimental wooden shutter in the South-facing window in the belfry. The intention is to see how much this reduces the sound level on Windmill Street. Measurements will be made at the next ringing practice on Thursday 26th.
The Tower Tidy
At the end of January on a Saturday morning a group of St Peter’s ringers and helpers arrived at the Church with a collection of ropes, buckets, brushes, dust masks and hard hats. The occasion was “The Great Tower Tidy”: a clean-out of 50(?) years of debris, dust and rubble from the bell and clock chambers. By lunchtime some 20 bucket-loads had been swept and bagged-up ready for disposal, and the two chambers looked spotless. Even the floor boards under the bells were visible, and they probably hadn’t seen daylight for years. Well done and thanks to all who helped!
The Clock Chamber before the tidy
Cleaning up the Clock Chamber (the clock mechanism is covered up)