Ringing the chimes for HOD

This evening St Helen’s Church, Witton (the oldest, and arguably the most beautiful building in Northwich) joined with hundreds of other churches across the country to celebrate Heritage Open Day by bringing to life the four-hundred year old tradition of English-style bell ringing for a huge audience. 20160908_184226

The collective hour was known as Challenge 500  and was a great way to bring people’s attention to the cultural and historical significance of bell ringing and its preservation.

The bell ringers at St Helen’s are an impressive sight as they work together to produce the magnificent sound that rang out for nearly an hour between 6 and 7pm this evening.  20160908_191240

The team of six men and two women range in age and experience with many having rung since they were children or teenagers.  But there is a real shortage of bell ringers, with teams often doubling up and working at several different churches in order to enable us to hear that beautiful sound that is unique to England.  Indeed, several of the team were racing off to Warmingham Church after their exhausting session in Northwich.

Ray has been bell ringing since he was 18 years old
Ray has been bell ringing since he was 18 years old


The tradition of change ringing is a unique form of music that has its roots in England. Instead of ‘tunes’ the bells ring in orderly sequences that the ringers learn as patterns and then ring from memory. Ringers control the bell with a rope, while the bell turns full circle, mounted on a wheel. Famous people who are reported to have rung bells include comedians Victoria Wood, Jo Brand and Timmy Mallett, gardener Alan Titchmarsh and entertainer and writer Frank Muir.

The bell-tower at St Helen’s will be open from 1.30pm on Saturday 11th September.  Go along and find out more about the hidden history of this wonderful place.