News St Laurence Bells

Spotlight on... The St Laurence Bells

Feb 09, 2023

St Laurence Church is very fortunate to have a fine peal of eight bells hung for full-circle ringing. The final pair of bells was added as recently as 1955. The bells were restored in 2008.

 

In addition, there is a ninth chiming bell, The Sanctus, originally cast in Buckingham in 1611, used during communion and as a signal.

 


An historic three-train flat-bed clock made by Smith of Derby in 1885 uses hammers to strike the exterior of the bells to play the Westminster chimes hours and quarter-hours. A mechanical carillon plays the hymn tune 'St David' after the chimes every third hour. The clock sounds through all 24 hours.

 

Change ringing by a team of experienced ringers shows the full potential of the bells, but as with many church towers, there have been times when our bells have been silent.

 

This was the case at St Laurence towards the end of the last millennium due to a shortage of ringers, but there was a drive to have all the towers with bells in England ringing for the year 2000.

 

St Laurence redoubled its efforts to recruit ringers then and again in 2005. The ringers work with other local towers in the Central Bucks Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Bell Ringers to ensure continuing recruitment, training and ringing.

 

Ringing the bells

Sunday service ringing is from 8.50 to 9.25am. Practice is Monday 7.30-9pm. The entrance is via the west door - ringers welcome but please check before attending.

 

We welcome more bellringers on regular and occasional bases. If you are interested and experienced or wishing to learn, please contact Jan Lewis at [email protected].

 

Bellringing groups wishing to ring at Winslow should contact us via the email above. The usual time is 45 mins and a donation is required. There is a strict limit on allowed peals and quarter peals.

 

The church is approached from the north-west corner of the Market Square, or from Church Walk off the High St. Entrance to the tower is via a steep spiral staircase in the north-west corner of the church.

 

Special occasions

In addition to routine service ringing, Winslow bells are rung for a number of special occasions.

 

This may include celebration in recognition of national events, such as in 2022 the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations followed later in the year with muffled bells to mark her passing, just a year after the death of Prince Philip, or more local events including Benefice services.

 

One of the bellringers' great pleasures is ringing for wedding services. Couples booking their marriage at St Laurence should receive an information sheet which explains more about the bells and what's available.