This Saturday 20th June, between 2.30 and 5.00pm the Docklands Ringers are opening the bell towers at both St James’ Bermondsey and St Mary’s Rotherhithe to members of the public. This is an opportunity to climb the tower to see the bells ringing and watch the ringers pulling the ropes. The art of ringing the changes is quite fascinating and the ringers will explain how it is done. You may even be able to have a quick go – it is great fun.
The eight bells at St James’ were installed in 1990, but replaced an earlier set cast in 1828, reputedly from canon captured at the battle of Sebastapol. The eight bells at St Mary’s were restored in 1996, but six of the bells were originally cast in 1748 and they replace an even earlier set. Both peals of bells therefore have a long history and the bells have been rung to celebrate many historic occasions over the centuries.
There is an active team of ringers who ring at both towers. For those who would like to find out more and have a longer go there will be a ‘taster evening’ at both towers on Tuesday 23rd June 7.30pm – 8.30pm