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!
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)
The trainee bell ringing band at St Peter’s currently consists of Roger Noble (Steeple Keeper), Jenny Eades (Deputy Tower Captain), Lindy Brett, Ali Griffin, Emily Griffin, Nick Eades and David Eades. We are supported in ringing for special services by Keith Poulton of St Peter’s, by Trisha Halloran and by more experienced ringers from St Michael’s and Christ Church. The average age is NOT 14 but we do have a 13 and a 20 year old!
We are aiming to have a practice at St Peter’s about once a month, on a Thursday evening from 7 to 8.15. We rang for the Carol Service on December 20th and on Christmas Day and will next ring on Easter Sunday 27 March before the 9.30 service.
Visiting bands will be ringing during the day on Friday March 11 at 3.30 to 4.30, on Saturday April 16 at 10 to 10.45 and on Saturday 23 April (St George’s Day) at 2.30 – 3.30.
We are hoping to organize our next practice night for either Thursday 21 or 28 April. Beginners welcome.