The bells of St Peter's and All Saints

St Peter's Church

The bells of St Peter's Church, Nottingham The Church of St Peter with St James dates back over 900 years. The building has evolved over the centuries and it stands today at the heart of a busy industrial and commercial city. It is known that there were at least two bells in the tower by 1440 and by 1499 there were probably four.

In 1544 a Marjorie Doubleday died, and in her will she left the rent of a small close to the Sexton of St Peter's Church on the condition of his ringing the bell, which she bought for the purpose, every morning (except Sundays) at 4 o'clock to awaken the washerwomen of the town to their labours.

The bells were probably augmented to six at the beginning of the 17th century and several were re-cast by George Oldfield, the Nottingham Founder, later in the century. In 1662 the Society of Northern Youths gave two trebles to make a peal of eight and the first recorded peal was on these bells - Grandsire Triples, in 1768 by the Society of Sherwood Youths (successors to the Northern Youths). In 1771 the ring was re-cast by Pack and Chapman of London.

The bells of St Peter's Church, Nottingham The third bell was re-cast by George Mears in 1858 and the seventh by Taylors of Loughborough in 1901. The inscription on the original bell given by Marjorie Doubleday is reproduced on this bell. In 1919 two treble bells cast by Taylors were given by H. R. Cobbin, a ringer at the Tower, who later became Chairman of Nottingham Forest Football Club.

In 1965 the old wooden frame was replaced by a two tiered H-sided frame by Taylors and the peal was augmented to twelve.

In 1980 the tenth bell cracked and this was re-cast together with the ninth and tenor by Taylors. Over 500 peals have been rung on the bells, more than half of these having been rung since the augmentation to twelve.

The ringing chamber of St Peter's Church, Nottingham In 1994 John Taylors cast the new sharp second. This bell was given by the bell ringers to mark the life and work of Canon Angus Inglis (Rector at the time the bells were restored and augmented to twelve) and his wife Kathleen. The provision of a sharp second gives a true light octave when the sharp second replaces the existing second.

So, in a period of some five and a half centuries, the number of bells at St Peter's has increased from two to thirteen. Unfortunately, the number of ringers in our band means that we cannot peal all the bells together, except with the help of ringers from local towers, including the University ringers from All Saints, for which we are grateful. If there are persons interested in learning to ring, please contact the ringers.

David Stainsby, Master of St Peter's Ringers

All Saints' Church

During the construction of the church, an order of six bells was placed with John Taylor of Loughborough. A six-bell oak bell frame was constructed for the church. At installation in 1864 this was extended to accommodate two extra bells and a ring of eight was installed. Cast in the Key of E, the heaviest of these weighed 17cwt. (about tonne).

In 1999 the bells were tuned and rehung in a new steel bell frame for ten bells. At the same time the redundant All Saints' Church School bell was hung as a Sanctus bell. The Nottingham University Society of Change Ringers ring the bells for the church.

Andrew Cairns
St Peter's Church, Nottingham
Last revised 12th July 2003