Bells & Bell Ringing

Wakefield Cathedral has 14 bells. The heaviest, the tenor, weighs nearly 1800kg and was cast by John Taylor & Co of Loughborough in 1947. It is tuned to C.

Normally a maximum of 12 bells are rung at one time - the extra bells are used for a lighter ring of 10 in F.

The bells are rung

  • to call people to worship,
  • at times of local or national celebration,
  • at times of mourning
  • and for practice

The clock chimes are unique to Wakefield Cathedral, and were composed by Sir Walter Alcock in 1947. He was organist at Salisbury Cathedral. The circular plug in the vault above can be removed to allow the bells to be raised and lowered to and from the belfry. The resulting hole is just wide enough for the largest bell to pass.

Wakefield was the first church in England to have 14 bells, when the last one was added in 1964. Since then other Cathedrals have followed our example - including Canterbury Cathedral and York Minster.

Bell Ringing at Wakefield Cathedral

Normal Ringing Times:
8.45 am to 9.10 am
10.25 am to 10.55 am
3.00 pm to 4.00 pm (From the last Sunday in October until Easter Day)
5.30 pm to 6.30 pm (From Low Sunday until the third Sunday in October)

Tuesday Practice:
7.00 pm to 9.00 pm

Visiting ringers are very welcome. Our practices range from rounds and call changes on six up to Surprise Maximus.

In addition to ringing on Sundays, the Cathedral bells are also rung to mark special occasions. Examples include National events such as the Diamond Jubilee or personal events like weddings. We often ring for other ringers special events - on the birth of child or the award of a degree. You can sponsor the Cathedral bells to ring for your special event - for example, a birthday or anniversary. We will try to ring near the date of the event, and will tell you when we plan to start and finish. After the ringing has taken place, we will give you a certificate showing what we rang and why, and listing the ringers who took part.

All you have to do is tell us what event you would like us to ring for and when it is, and make a donation to the appeal. How big a donation? It depends how long you want us to ring for! A full peal takes about 3 hours 30 minutes. A quarter peal lasts for about 55 minutes. We can also ring shorter pieces of about 20 minutes. The bigger the donation, the longer we will ring. As a guide, sponsorship of £50 will get 20 minutes ringing. £100, and we will ring a quarter peal, and for £200 a full peal. Details of full peals are published in various ringing papers and online.

For more information or to make booking, please contact the Tower Master, Katie Town via the Cathedral Office.

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