The famous bells of St Peter’s Cathedral were cast by Taylors of Loughborough and installed in 1946. This octave, with a tenor of 2096 kg in C, is second in weight only to Sherbourne Abbey in the UK and is widely regarded as amongst the finest ring of bells in the world. The tenor, being over two imperial tons, is a great bell and named “Great Frederick” for Frederick Lakeman, the benefactor. The bells were opened by a band of ringers from Sydney, who flew to Adelaide for the occasion in 1947, a significant adventure in itself!
The Bells at St Peter’s Cathedral are rung from 10:00am – 10:30am prior to the Choral Eucharist every Sunday morning and for special services and civic events. There is a regular practice on Tuesday evenings from 7:30 – 9:00 p.m
The Bells of St Peter’s Cathedral:
|Bell||Weight (cwt)||Weight (kg)||Note||Cast||Founder|
|1||7-0-1||356||C||1946||John Taylor & Co|
|2||7-2-22||390||B||1946||John Taylor & Co|
|3||9-1-3||471||A||1946||John Taylor & Co|
|4||12-3-11||652||G||1946||John Taylor & Co|
|5||16-3-15||857||F||1946||John Taylor & Co|
|6||20-2-23||1051||E||1946||John Taylor & Co|
|7||27-1-21||1393||D||1946||John Taylor & Co|
|8||41-1-0||2095||C||1946||John Taylor & Co|
The Adelaide Bellringers are the local branch of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Bellringers (ANZAB). Its members coordinate ringing for services, weddings, funerals and other festive and memorial occasions. The Adelaide Bellringers ring at St Peters Cathedral and the other four towers with bells in Adelaide.
The Bellringers are a group of people from a wide range of backgrounds and interests who enjoy the musical, intellectual, mathematical and physical aspects of their craft. Many regard it as part of their Christian service, but religious observance is not an essential qualification.
It takes many weeks to learn to handle a bell correctly with the clapper silenced, before a new ringer is allowed to ring “open” and join a band at a practice. The new ringer will need to develop good listening skills and to ring rhythmically and evenly. From the simple stage of ringing call changes, when the conductor calls each bell into place, the ringer progresses to ringing methods where a pattern of ringing must be learned by heart so that the bells do not ever ring in the same order twice.
We ring the bells in the English style of full-circle change-ringing. Music takes many forms around the world and while it is easy to show some mathematical structure in scales and rhythm, nothing beats the English form of bellringing, known as change-ringing, for pure mathematical elegance. The “music” is the same mathematics behind the Rubik’s cube and cryptography. Change-ringing is however, much older than the formal field of group theory and it is not surprising that the two areas have entirely different nomenclatures and much reinvention.
The aim in change-ringing may be summarised as ringing a set of permutations, without repetition or pause, entirely from memory by a band of bellringers that is a unique mix of music, physical sport, teamwork and mathematics. The system by which the different unique rows can be ordered was formalised by the end of the seventeenth century. A systematic method of bell tuning was developed around 1900, bringing bells and their harmonics into standard tuning.
For further information on studying bellringing please contact:
Captain: Matthew Ball, phone 0411 058 286
Vice-Captain: Matthew Sorrell, phone 0410 432 762