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Church Bells

If you are interested in learning how to ring the bells or in joining our group of bell ringers, please see the ‘What’s On’ page for more information.

The history and information about the bells

There has been a ring of bells in St Guthlac's since 1766, when six bells were cast and hung for ringing by Joseph Eyre of St. Neots, Huntingdonshire. A peal of six bells all cast by the same bellfounder at the same time is unusual.

Details of the bells with their inscriptions are reproduced below from "Dean Howard's History" in the Parish Magazine of February 1930:

  • No.1 - Cum voco venite (When I call come) Joseph Eyre St. Neots, Huntingdonshire. Fecit 1766. (Diameter 30¾ inches; weight 5-3-18).
  • No.2 - Omnia fiant ad gloriam Dei (Let all be done to the glory of God). 1766. (Diameter 32¼ inches; weight 6-1-20).
  • No.3 - Ergo sum vox clemantis (I am the voice of one crying - S Matt 3,3). Joseph Eyre, St. Neots, 1766. (Diameter 34 inches; weight 7-0-23).
  • No.4 - In Dei Gloriam in Ecclesiae commodum (To the glory of God and the good of the Church). Joseph Eyre, Fecit - St. Neots, Huntingdonshire, 1766. (Diameter 36¾ inches; weight 8-2-23).
  • No.5 - Lawrence Maydwell, Rector. John Mawby, John Boyall, Churchwardens. 1766. (Diameter 40 inches; weight 10-0-20).
  • No.6 - Lawrence Maydwell, Rector. John Mawby, John Boyall, Churchwardens. Joseph Eyre, St. Neots - Fecit Nov 15, 1766. (Diameter 44¼ inches; weight 13-3-25).

The tenor (heaviest) bell was rehung and the bells generally put back into good order during Queen Victoria's jubilee year, 1887.

By 1989 the fittings were again in a poor state of repair, and funds were raised to re-hang the bells with new fittings in a steel frame in which space was left for two additional bells. Before rehanging, the bells were re-tuned.

To mark the Millennium, it was decided to augment the bells from a ring of six to a ring of eight to attain the octave. This was accomplished through a combination of local fund raising and support and a grant from the National Lottery Millennium Fund. The two new bells were cast and hung by John Taylor & Co of Loughborough in 1998, one of the two remaining bellfounders in England. Before hanging, the bells were blessed by the Bishop of Lincoln on 30th August 1998. They were first rung as a complete octave on 11th October 1998. Details of the new bells with inscriptions are:

  • New No. 1 (treble) - Laus Deo (Praise be to God). John Taylor & Co, Loughborough 1998. (Diameter 26½ inches; weight 4-3-6).
  • New No. 2 - Derek Earis, Rector. Stewart Jones and Kay Roberts, Churchwardens. JT&Co 1998. (Diameter 28½ inches; weight 5-0-24).

Each bell also has on it the Millennium Commission's medallion.

In addition to their fundraising efforts, the ringers and other volunteers prepared the tower and assisted the contractors with the work in both 1989 and 1998. They continue to maintain the bells and tower fittings to a high standard.