The art of campanology is alive and well in Ambleside at St Mary's Parish Church.
Ambleside's bells are widely regarded as one of the finest rings in the country. The original six bells were replaced in 1901 by the present ring of eight. These were cast and installed by the well known bell foundry firm of John Taylor & Co of Loughborough which is still working today. The eight bells form a harmonic octave tuned in the key of D flat with the heaviest (tenor bell) weighing 32½ cwt. This is the fourth heaviest ring of eight in the United Kingdom and is the heaviest outside the West Country. A few years ago the bells were re-hung on modern bearings and the clappers together with other fittings overhauled so that they are easier to ring. This in turn has made it possible to teach new ringers who are always needed and welcome to join our friendly band. The ringers are of mixed experience and we usually ring six for Sunday Service ringing at 10.20am, or more when we have any ringers on holiday who come and join us. Practice night is on Monday at 7.30pm until 9.00pm when we nearly always ring all 8 bells. We have regular visitors from local towers and others from further afield so we manage to ring more complex change ringing as well as easier things for the less experienced. Because our bells are so widely regarded, we receive many requests from visiting bands to ring. It is accepted that prolonged peals can be regarded as a nuisance by some local people, so we limit permissions for longer peals (up to 3½ hours) to four per year, during winter months. Whenever possible the dates of long peals will be published in advance, for the benefit of those who may wish to come and hear them and for those who may wish to avoid them. Dates will appear in Ambleside Parish Magazine and on this website Anyone interested in learning, or visitors wanting more information, should contact Peter Gardner, tel 01539 823302.