The Tower and Bells
The Minster has a long tradition of bell-ringing going back in the old church to a date prior to 1553. When the ‘New Church’ was built in 1830 William & John Taylor were commissioned to cast “a complete new peal of bells for the new Church at Stoke”, which typically of the period, were hung near the top of the tower and of the maximum weight possible.
The damage caused by this exuberance led by 1969 to the need to reduce the weight of the bells and lower them by some 30 feet in the tower, thus reducing the lateral forces which were causing the damage. The final result is an excellent harmonically tuned, easy going, ring of ten bells with the tenor (the heaviest bell) weighing in at 17 cwt.
The bells are rung “full circle” in the traditional English change ringing style; not easy to describe here but anyone interested will be made very welcome on Tuesday evenings from 7.45 pm to 9.30 pm at our usual practice or before the 10.30 am service on Sunday mornings to see how it’s done and perhaps have a go! Access is via a spiral staircase in the West Porch (the main church entrance).