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Bells have been rung at Bolton Parish Church for some 300 years. The present ring of twelve bells were installed in 1974 when the opportunity was taken to replace the original ring of eight with eight bells from Saviours Church, Deane Road, plus five new trebles (recast from seven of the original eight bells). The tenor bell was retained and hung “dead“, to be rung electrically for services when the bell ringers are unavailable. The inscription on this bell is as follows:
“I to the Chvrch the living call
And to the grave doe svmmon all
Henry Bagley made mee 1699“
The bells are rung for our main Sunday service from 9.45 a.m. until 10.30 a.m. - and at other occasional services (eg weddings) on request. There is also a weekly practice every Friday at 7.00 p.m.
Our band of ringers boasts several experienced members and is under the leadership of Alan Forrester, the tower captain. The requirements to be a bell ringer are very few. You do not need to know anything about music, you do not need to be strong or agile, but you do need to be able to count to eight……and we can even teach you that as part of your training!
If you are interested in finding out more about bell ringing and getting some expert tuition, please do come along to a practice night at 7pm here at the Parish Church where you will be made welcome (enter via the south-east side door by the car park). You will also be able to ascertain whether there is a Church tower nearer to you where you may also learn to ring.
Bell ringing is a sociable activity and the team often gather after practices at a local hostelry. Trips to ring bells at other churches up and down the country are also organised. In June and September (the latter to coincide with the Civic Trust’s Heritage Weekend), the tower is opened to the public, giving those able to climb the stairs an opportunity to enjoy a guided visit to the ringing chamber (and even have a go at ringing one of the bells) and to savour the spectacular view from the top of the tower.
This all goes to make our tower a 'must' to visit and ring at, whether you are an experience ringer or a novice wanting to learn this peculiarly British art.