The bells of St George’s can be heard ringing over Beckenham for services on Sundays, for practice on Thursdays and at other times for weddings, funerals and special occasions. The tower of St George’s Church has ten bells which are hung for English-style change ringing. In change ringing the bells, starting mouth up, swing through 360° and then back again, sounding once in each direction. This allows for more accurate timing than swing chiming, as used on the continent.
The eight largest bells date from 1902 and were cast from the metal of the previous ring of bells, the oldest of which was dated 1624. The two smallest are dated 1934. The same bells are chimed by the tower clock every 15 minutes.
The bells are rung by the St George’s Beckenham Guild of Bellringers, which was founded in 1904. We have members ranging from 10 to 75 years old. The members are very dedicated and the standard of ringing is good, although we do not always get it right! We use mathematically derived patterns rather than music to produce different “tunes”. These range from very simple to extremely complicated and consequently provide a lifetime of learning challenges.
Bellringing is an absorbing and enjoyable hobby. If you’re interested in learning to ring church bells please do get in touch to arrange some lessons.
Read more about the fun and friendship of ringing in this article from The Telegraph – the author learned to ring at St George’s.