Saint Stephen's Bell Ringers
The tower of St Stephens pre-dates the current church and was built in 1470 by John Shipward. This tower almost certainly had bells in it and in fact one such bell survives to this day. This bell, known as the St Peters Bell, was cast c1400 and as such is too fragile for regular ringing. The current ring of bells were first installed as a ring of eight bells. These were cast by Abel Rudhall of Gloucester in 1759. Seven of the original 8 survive to this day with augmentation and recasting over the past 250 years providing us with a fine ring of 12 bells. The front 5 being cast in 1970 by John Taylor of Loughborough. In 2005, John Taylors also cast a 13th bell in memory of Patrick Bird a beloved and long standing ringing master of St Stephens. This bell is tuned a semitone sharper than the second bell. This produces an octave on the lightest 8 bells, enabling these to be rung independently of the back bells.
If there have been bells in the tower of St Stephens since the 1400 it is reasonable to suppose that there have also been people – or bell ringers since that time as well. Though no records survive from this date.
The current band of ringers at St Stephens numbers ~20 people and we meet on the Monday of each week at 7:30pm to practise (apart from the 2nd Monday of each month when we ring at Christ Church on Corn Street). We occasionally have visiting bands of ringers over weekends. Sometimes this consist of up to a 'peal' duration of ringing, around 3 hours (for more information see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peal).
We are a welcoming bunch of ringers and welcome people of all ages and ability! If you are interested in learning to bell ring or require any other information please contact the secretary: Adam Bennett (email: email@example.com).