History of the Bells - Page 3


On one night in 1897(?) after the bells were left up overnight, a crack opened up in the headstock of the ninth bell, and sometime during the night the headstock broke into two pieces and the bell was cast into its pit. Fortunately the bell was undamaged. The headstock was cut away from the bell and was found recently in a corner of the belfry and put on display in the ringing room. A new cast iron headstock with roller bearings was fitted in its place. It is not known what other fittings were damaged, but it is likely that a new wheel was fitted.
At this time or early in the 1890’s J Taylors overhauled the whole installation.

The second peal on the bells was rung in 1895 by a band of ringers from the Newcastle area. It was 5040 Kent Treble Bob Royal composed by Wm Holme; it was rung in 3hrs 47mins and was the first peal of Royal on the bells and in Scotland. It was credited to The Durham and Newcastle Diocesan Association and was conducted by Charles Routledge, at this time a student at Edinburgh University and member of St Mary’s Society.
Details are:
1  Charles L Routledge         
2  Robert S Story  
3  Henry H Lindsey          
4  Robert C Hudson
5  Hugh D Dall
6  Emmett W J Lincoln
7  Alfred F Hiller
8  William Story
9  William Holmes       
10 Fredk J Harrison

A letter by Charles Routledge describing the affair appears in the “Bell News” of 17th August 1895, p134. There is a photograph of the band in the ringing room.

There were three other peals rung early in the 20th century. Two were rung in 1902 by Scottish-based ringers and the third, of Grandsire Caters was rung by St Mary’s Society in 1904 and was the first 10-bell peal rung by a Sunday-Service band in Scotland. Details of this peal appear on the Society Peal board in the ringing room and are accompanied by a photograph of the band.

The five peals described, plus a further peal rung in 1927, were the only peals rung on the bells as installed in 1879, that is to say with a tenor of weight 42-2-21 and plain bearings. That the peals were rung is such good times demonstrated the excellent “go” of the bells and can be taken as a compliment, not only to the ringing participants, but also to John Taylor & Co. for a first-class installation, and to the Society for a high level of maintenance.