“In Memory of the Men of St Peter’s Parish, Macclesfield, Who made the Supreme Sacrifice in the 1939—1945 War”
2017 sees the 70th anniversary of the eight bells at St Peter’s. They were carried by lorry in procession from Hibel Road Station to the church on the afternoon of the last Saturday in August 1947, almost two years exactly from the end of the Second World War.
Five of the Eight Bells outside the Tower Door
St Peter’s itself is somewhat older: it was built in 1849, originally without a tower to speak of which was not itself completed until 1910. A spire was originally planned but was never built.
Funds for the bells were raised by subscription, and a fine leather-bound book is retained in the Church which lists the considerable number of donors together with photographs and details of the bells. The final cost of the bells was £1100 18s 2d installed (that’s £1100.91 in new money), including 9d for each letter of inscription, a set of mufflers (which don’t appear to have survived), a set of spare stays (ditto) and an allowance of £17 10s 4d for the old bell (at £6 per hundredweight).
The bells were cast by John Taylor & Co. of Loughborough in the first half of 1947, with the tenor (the heaviest bell) being cast on the 21st May. This latter event was witnessed by a deputation from St Peter’s.
Casting the Tenor. Note the health and safety gear
The tenor commemorates the men of St Peter’s Parish who died fighting in the Second World War, and the 7th bell, rather touchingly, remembers all of the European bells melted down to make munitions.
In Memory of the Men of St Peter’s Parish, Macclesfield, Who made the Supreme Sacrifice in the 1939—1945 War
In Me are cast the Voices of all European Bells desecrated by the Enemy for Munitions
A band of young ringers was trained by the Churchwarden, Fred Horsfield, here shown after ringing on handbells in September 1946.
Sunday Service Ringing, 1946
The bells were officially opened on the 1st May 1948. There is a framed certificate commemorating the band at this event.
Note the average age of 14
The same year chimes were added to the clock by the original makers J B Joyce & Co of Whitchurch (since acquired by Smith of Derby) at a cost of £197 10s 0d. There is a letter from them commenting on the clock’s poor state of maintenance. The clock is one of few that is still hand-wound.
The Bells Now
After a tidy-out February 2016
Apart from being rung to celebrate the Millennium in 2000, the bells have not been rung regularly by a local band for many years, though Tower Captain, Danny Naden, has kept the bells in good working order and welcomed visiting bands.
In February 2014, a group of people at the church decided it would be good to ring the bells for the 100th commemoration of the First World War. We had no idea of the amount of work required! But, with much tutoring from the rest of the Macclesfield ringers (St Michael’s and Christ Church, thank you in particular to Kevin, James and Simon), we are now semi-competent at simpler ringing. Three of us, Roger Noble, David Eades and Jenny Eades, supported by St Michael’s ringers, rang publicly for the first time for Remembrance Sunday 2014.
In preparation for the 70th Anniversary of the bells’ installation, we ordered new ropes to replace the rather tatty and delicate old ones. The last of the new ropes were hung on the 7th August 2016.
New ringers, beginners or experienced, are always welcome. If you are interested please do contact us.
Technical Stuff for those who are interested
The St Peter’s bells are quite a light set, but have a fine sound. The details for each bell are given below. Weights are traditionally given in Imperial units of hundredweights (cwt), quarters (qr) and pounds (lbs): 1 cwt = 50.8 kg, there are 4 qr in a cwt, and 28 lbs in a quarter.
B flat, cast 4th July 1947, 2 cwts, 1 qr, 9 lbs
IN MEMORY OF
CHARLES AND ELIZABETH ROTHWELL
FROM THEIR SONS AND DAUGHTERS
A, cast 4th July 1947, 2cwts, 1 qr, 16 lbs
(Children’s Service Bell)
“SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN TO COME UNTO ME”
THE GIFT OF
CHARLES AND ELIZABETH ROTHWELL
G, cast 24th June, 1947, 2 cwts, 3qrs, 7 lbs
(Daily Service Bell)
THE GIFT OF ANN STONELY
AND IN MEMORY OF TWO OF HER FRIENDS
F, cast 14th May 1947, 3 cwts, 0 qr, 9 lbs
(Mothers’ Union Service Bell)
TO THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE MOTHERS’ UNION
E flat, cast 24th June 1947, 3 cwts, 3 qrs, 8 lbs
(“Happy Memories” Bell)
WILLIAM SINDEN, VICAR 1854—1898
J.F. CHOLMONDELEY JAMES, VICAR 1898—1925
DAVID THOMAS, VICAR 1925—1941
D, cast 24th June 1947, 4 cwts, 0 qr, 13 lbs
(Communion Service Bell)
“DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME”
TO THE MEMORY OF SAMUEL BELL.
THE GIFT OF
EMILY BELL AND FAMILY
C, cast 24th June 1947, 5 cwts, 1qr, 19 lbs
IN ME ARE CAST THE VOICES OF ALL
EUROPEAN BELLS DESECRATED BY
THE ENEMY FOR MUNITIONS, 1939—1945
B flat, cast 21st May 1947, 7 cwts, 2 qrs, 22 lbs
(The “Passing” bell)
IN MEMORY OF THE MEN OF ST. PETER’s PARISH,
MACCLESFIELD, WHO MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE
IN THE 1939—1945 WAR
* * *
THOMAS LEVER, VICAR
FRED HORSFIELD ) CHURCHWARDENS
ALBERT E. WILLIAMS )