Bell ringing in St Oswald’s Ashbourne
St Oswald’s has a ring of eight bells, the weight of which ranges from 14cwt (for the heaviest bell, called the tenor) to 5cwt ( for the smallest bell called the treble). The bells are unusual in that they are rung from the crossing at ground level, the ropes being 75 ft long with terylene tops to reduce their stretch and make for easier handling; A metal frame provides guides through which the ropes pass,which also helps to make handling the bells easier.
The present bells were cast in the key of F in 1815 by William Dobson of Downham Market and hang in a teak frame. They replaced a ring of 6 bells installed in 1664, the heaviest of which was 17cwt 17lb. When these were removed from the tower in 1815 at least two of them went on to be used in local churches, namely Blore Ray and Derby Cathedral, and it is likely that metal from the others was used in the bells of nearby Tissington Church.
The bells are rung regularly for two services each Sunday, for weddings and for special services such as Ordinations. Over sixty peals have been rung, a peal being what is called 5040 changes of a particular method and lasting over three hours, generally for a special occasion. The latest peal was in July 2017 to celebrate the Ashbourne Treasures exhibition.
Bell practice is on Wednesday evenings and anyone who would like to join the bell ringers, whether novice or experienced, is welcome to join us.
CONTACT Kath Brown, tel 343201, Kath@g3tvu.co.uk
Jackie Burns, tel 370782, email@example.com
Tower captain: Peter Dickinson 01335 418341