Ringing at Crediton

The restoration of the bells (see picture gallery here) has led to a resurgence of interest in bell ringing at Crediton and all twelve bells are rung regularly.The ringing practiced at Crediton is a mixture of Change (method) ringing and traditional Devon Call Change ringing. Regular ringing takes place every Sunday morning from 8.45 a.m-9.30 a.m. and on the first Sunday in the month we also ring for choral evensong from 5.30 p.m.-6.00 p.m. Practice night is Tuesday from 7.30 p.m.-9.00 p.m.

We are always pleased to welcome visitors to these sessions. Visiting bands of ringers are also welcome to ring our bells. Normally this will be on Saturday mornings between 10.00 a.m. and 12.00 noon with a maximum of one hour.

To arrange a visit or to make any enquiries about bells or ringing in the Crediton area contact Geoff Sparling, Tel 01363 776681, email: geoffreysparling@btinternet.com.

History of the Bells

There have been bells in our Norman tower for well over 700 years. By the mid-1990s it was becoming very apparent that the peal of eight bells, cast in Crediton by John Pennington and Co (Tenor 27½ cwt-recast by Thomas Mears in 1814) was in urgent need of attention. A long period of consultation and discussion took place when a number of cheaper, non cost effective and temporary schemes were considered and rejected. After a good deal of soul searching we arrived at the final and inescapable conclusion-a total restoration of the bells and fittings.

Firstly the electrification of the clock winding mechanism would allow the re-ordering of the ringing chamber including the removal of the redundant Victorian timber structures which cluttered the ringing room and restricted the massive amount of space available. Secondly, the removal of the 18th century wooden bell frame. Although in good condition the frame was of a very poor design (the two heaviest bells swung in the same direction,) and it transferred all the weight of the bells on to the very old oak beams between the bell chamber and the clock room. Finally, the bells themselves were tonally very poor and it was recognised that modern founding techniques would produce a much more acceptable musical effect. Also increasing the bells to ten in number would give the ringers much more flexibility regarding having a lighter peal of six bells for practice.

The new bells being cast in Whitechapel

In 1999 an appeal was launched to raise an estimated £100,000 needed to carry out the work and at the same time consultations were held with various bodies regarding permission to carry out the work. A successful conclusion was achieved at the end of 2003 and on Easter day 2004 the old eight were rung for the last time, taken from the tower and sent to the Whitechapel Bell Foundry for re-casting. Whilst the bells were away the tower was internally cleaned, the ringing room re-ordered and decorated and the walls of the bell chamber prepared to allow for the girders carrying the new frame to be built in to the tower walls. In October the new frame and bells were installed and the work was dedicated by the Bishop of Exeter in November 2004. Two years later, a new treble bell was donated by Ed Rossmiller and family in memory of Frances and the second was donated by John and Christine Clarke, two local ringers. As the frame was already designed and installed as a twelve bell frame this was a relatively simple project and Crediton bells became twelve on the 16 January 2007. See this in images here

Listen to all twelve bells being rung on 20 January 2007. The first full peal attempt of 5119 changes of Stedman Cinques by a team of ringers from Exeter Cathedral. Recording by Percival H Rolle.

Final lower of the old eight bells, dating from 1774, recorded on Easter Day 12th April 2004. The recording was made outside the tower by Frances Sandiford-Rossmiller.

View images and details from the National 12 bell Striking Competition 2010 and the re-casting of the bells in images here