The Bells of St Paul's

St. Paul’s church is blessed to have a ring of eight bells which was installed in the memorial clock tower in 1935 when it was added to the church. As such it is a relatively modern ring in church installation terms and has a good reputation within the local bell-ringing community.

The bells themselves were cast by the bell founders Taylor’s of Loughborough between 1932 and 1934 with the exception of the Treble, the lightest bell, which was a recast of the single bell taken from Christ Church, the original parish church of Adlington.

The bell weights range from the lightest at just over 200kg (4cwt) up to the heaviest, the Tenor bell at 675kg (13 ¼ cwt). The ‘front’ four are considered the light bells with the weights rising steadily through the ‘back’ four up to the Tenor.

Having eight bells allows them to be tuned to a musical octave, each bell being tuned to a particular note within a descending diatonic scale, the Treble having the highest pitch and the Tenor the lowest. The bells at St. Paul’s are tuned to the scale of F.

All the bells bear some form of name as a cast inscription, although five of the bells also carry dedications to either a prominent local figure or to the group who donated that particular bell.

The eight bells are mounted in a compact bell frame installed in the tower belfry. Four of the bells swing north-south and four swing east-west in order to minimise the loading on the tower walls. In addition there are two hammers mounted adjacent to the Tenor bell, one to enable the clock chiming and the other to provide a service bell function.

Ringing the bells is performed from a dedicated ringing room two floors below the belfry. Ropes descend from the pulley wheel of each bell through the belfry floor, the clock room and down into the ringing room where they are suspended when not in use.

St. Paul’s has its own dedicated bell-ringing band consisting of experienced ringers and newer recruits in training. The bell-ringing group has good relationships with other bell-ringing groups within the wider local area. Members of the group also carry out routine inspection, maintenance and limited repairs to the bells when required.

The bells are regularly rung on Sunday mornings prior to the 10:30 service and bell-ringing practice at Adlington is usually held on Thursday evenings at 7:30pm. The bells are also rung for weddings or other special occasions as required or when requested.

Ian Horsfield