History of the Bells - Page 4


Dr Montgomery died in office in 1897 and was succeeded by the Very Rev Dr John Skinner Wilson who was Dean & Provost for 22 years. On his retirement, aged 70 years, a bell was cast and installed in the newly completed NW tower of the Cathedral in his honour. The bell, by Taylors of Loughborough has a weight of 8 ½  cwt and a note of A#. It is hung on a cast iron headstock for full-circle ringing in a cast iron low-side frame with plain bearings (Heywood lubricators) and a Hastings stay. It is chimed regularly for weekday services.

In 1935, the bells had a major overhaul managed by John Taylor & Co. The bells & fittings were removed from the tower & taken to the foundry workshops for retuning on the Simpson Principle. The canons were removed from the front six bells and cast-iron headstocks with roller bearings fitted to all bells. Whilst at the workshop the seventh bell was found to be cracked and was recast. The retune resulted in an overall loss in weight of over half a ton.

Since this time there have been no major changes. In 1982, during a routine inspection, the fourth bell was found to be cracked and was recast at Loughborough. The business of removing the cracked bell from the tower and subsequent installation of the new bell was handled entirely by the bell-ringers with the help of a gallows-jib erected by The Royal Navy using telegraph poles!
Subsequently the clappers of the sixth bell and tenor well were replaced and three headstocks re-gudgeoned at Loughborough.

At the turn of this century, the ten bells at St Mary’s were the heaviest ring of bells in Scotland and the second heaviest ring of ten bells in the world. The tenor bell was the deepest toned bell of all rings of ten bells in the world.

In 2008 after a long fund raising effort to raise £50K, two trebles were added to the original ten bells to create a ring of 12 bells. They were cast at Loughborough and installed in a low-side cast iron frame. They are the first such ring in Scotland and are the most northerly church-tower ring of 12 in the world – fittingly they are in the largest ecclesiastical building in Scotland.

The first ringing on the 12 bells is detailed below.

On Saturday 6th December 2008
A Touch of 110 Grandsire Cinques
1  Frances Cunningham      
2  Helen M Brotherton
3  Angela H Deakin          
4  Fiona Wheater
5  Christopher Frye          
6  Peter Sanders
7  William A Brotherton (C)      
8  Neil Ballard
9  W John Grainger          
10 Peter Williamson
11 Robert J Hancock          
12 W David Roskelly

This bob course of Grandsire Cinques marks the completion of the Augmentation Project. Rung by members of the Cathedral Band and the Scottish Association of Change Ringers.The first changes  on 12 bells in Scotland

Full details of the Augmentation Project appear in an article in The Ringing World Issue No 5155, Feb 12 2010.
The first 12-bell quarter peal was 1320 Plain Bob Cinques on 16 July 2009 and the first peal on 12-bells was 5016 Plain Bob Maximus on 7 October 2009. The new bells were dedicated & the original 10 bells rededicated on Thursday 12 November 2009 commemorating 130 years ringing at St Mary’s.

© Bill Brotherton 2012