Welcome to the information section about bellringing at York Minster. This will be updated and more information given in coming months as we re-establish regular ringing at York Minster. These magnificent bells call people to worship each Sunday morning for the 10am service.
About our bells
At York Minster we have the fourth heaviest set of change ringing bells in the world, with the tenor weighing in at 59 cwt. The bell chamber and ringing chamber are housed in the south west tower of the Minster. Also in the bell chamber are the thirty five carillon bells (hung above the ringing bells). There is a team of carillonneurs who play the carillon most days before Evensong (Monday – Saturdays from 4.45 until 5.15pm) and at lunchtime on Mondays. The largest bell at York Minster is Great Peter (which you will hear striking the hour);this bell is housed in the North West tower.
About Change Ringing
Change ringing is a traditional English art form. Throughout the British Isles there are bells which are rung for calling people to worship on Sundays. Most rings of bells are in churches, but there are some in secular buildings such as Manchester Town Hall and some mini rings of bells – often housed in people’s garages! There are also ringing bells in other parts of the world such as Australia, USA, Canada and South Africa. The aim of change ringing is for the bells to be rung in an even rhythm, rather than the general random sounding of bells which you would hear for example in many continental countries. Part of learning to ring in a ‘change ringing’ style is to ring your bell accurately so it sounds in an even spaced rhythm with the others. Once you can do that, it gets a bit boring ringing in the same order all the time so ringers change the order in which the bells are rung. This is done in a systematic way either by calling bells to ring in a different order (called Call Changes) or by ringers pre learning a ‘method’ of changing the bells which all the ringers follow (that’s called method ringing). Ringers can learn ever-more complex patterns in order to ring the bells in a different, pre-prescribed number of changes. So as well as being physical exercise (particularly here at York where you have to climb up 100 spiral steps before you even start to ring!) it is a good mental challenge too.
Ringing times at York Minster
Practice nights at York Minster are on Tuesday evenings from 7.30 until 9.00pm. Ringing on Sundays starts at 9.00am before the main Sunday Morning Eucharist service which starts at 10.00am.
Since September we have been working on getting our new team of local ringers are up and running. We are now happy to welcome visiting ringers to the Minster by prior arrangement. We are also looking at opportunities for quarter peals and peals.
For information about how you can join the York Minster Volunteer Bell Ringing team, practice times, quarter peals and peals and coming as a visitor, please contact: Angela Mitchell, Head of Bell Tower, e: firstname.lastname@example.org