Holy Trinity Parish Church, Meldreth

The Bells and Ringers of Meldreth

Holy Trinity Church has a ring of eight bells. The tenor, the heaviest bell, weighs just over half a ton (500 kg). The treble, the lightest bell, weighs about 28 stones (180 kg). For further details of the weights, see below. For more information on the history of the bells, see here. The bells were restored in 2015, being rehung in a new steel frame on one level.

The bells are rung by a joint Meldreth and Melbourn band of ringers. The two parishes have the same vicar, with the main 9:45 service taking place at Meldreth on the first and third Sundays of the month and at Melbourn on the second and fourth Sundays. The service on the fifth Sunday of the month may be at either church. We ring from 9:15 each week.

The joint band's practice night is Wednesday, with ringing from 7:45 until 9:00. This is at Meldreth, except for the second Wednesday of each month, when we practise at Melbourn. We also welcome visiting ringers from other churches to come and practise with us.

Meldreth is also a notable venue for peal ringing. A peal is a non-stop performance, in which each bell must ring more than 5000 times. At Meldreth, peals usually take about two and three-quarter hours. The first peal was rung here in 1938, when there were only five bells in the tower. Two more peals were rung in 1939; the peal boards for these performances are shown below. One of these peals was the first peal for John Gipson, who was later to become tower captain. The total number of peals rung at Meldreth to date (March 2016) is now 2201, making it the church with the highest total of peals in the world. John Gipson has rung in more than 1669 of these peals - see this article.

The bells are rung for many events in the life of the church, the village or the country. They have rung to mark births, baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths, funerals and anniversaries and to ring in the New Year. In recent years, we have rung for the birth of Prince George, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Centenary of the village school and the start of the 2012 Olympic games (see - and listen - here).

Details of the bells

Bell Weight (cwt) Weight (kg) Note Date Founder Inscription
1 3-1-25 176 F# 1968 Mears & Stainbank "Blessed be the most Holy Trinity" Patrick McNeice, Vicar. Herbert Hilton, John Gipson, Churchwardens
2 3-2-15 185 F 1968 Mears & Stainbank "All Thy works shall praise Thee"
3 4-1-14 222 D# 1950 Mears & Stainbank "Honour the fallen in two wars, 1914-1918 and 1939-1945"
4 4-1-20 225 C# 1967 Mears & Stainbank "God save the Queen, 1837-1887"
5 5-0-3 255 B 1855 John Taylor & Son  
6 5-1-15 274 A# 1855 John Taylor & Son  
7 6-0-16 312 G# 1967 Mears & Stainbank  
8 10-1-13 527 F# 1617 Tobias Norris I "Non Sono Animabus mortuorum sed Auribus vivencium"
(I sound not for the souls of the dead, but for the ears of the living)

NB the weights in the second column are given in hundredweight (cwt), quarters and pounds. A hundredweight is 112 pounds and a quarter is 28 pounds.

Some of the display boards in the tower

Former details of the bells Peal board, 1939 John Gipson's first peal, 1939

(Click on pictures for larger versions)

Notable dates

  • 1617 - oldest surviving bell cast by Tobias Norris of Stamford
  • 1885 - two bells cast by Taylor's of Loughborough
  • 1887 - bells augmented from four to five, to mark Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee
  • 1937 - bells rehung by Alfred Bowell of Ipswich
  • 1938 - first peal on the bells, January 15th
  • 1950 - bells augmented to six, with War Memorial bell added - first peal December 5th
  • 1968 - bells augmented to eight - first peal rung June 9th
  • 1980 - double peal of 10080 Stedman Triples
  • 1993 - 1000th peal on the bells
  • 2010 - 2000th peal on the bells