Worcester Cathedral

Worcester Cathedral’s magnificent bells

Church bells are the biggest and loudest musical instruments. The bells of Worcester Cathedral are considered to be one of the finest rings of bells in the world.

The Cathedral’s tower contains a ring of 12 bells, three semitone bells and a bourdon bell, with a total weight of 16 tonnes. The 15 ringing bells were cast in 1928 by John Taylor & Co. of Loughborough, from the metal of the previous ring. These were cast in 1869 and the non-swinging bourdon bell was cast in 1868 and was re-tuned in 1928. It is used by the clock to strike the hours.

worcester cathedral bells 1928

The ring is the fifth heaviest in the world, The bells are hung in the 1869 wooden frame which housed the previous ring. This sits on top of a wooden structure which directs the forces down onto the supporting corner pillars of the tower. It is referred to locally as the ‘wigwam’.

The semitone bells make it possible to ring combinations of bells in different keys. The haunting sound of the Harmonic Minor Ten is unique to Worcester, and can be heard on Good Friday, Armistice Day, Remembrance Sunday and New Year’s Eve.

Ringing Times

The Cathedral’s bells are rung every Sunday morning between 09:30 and 10:30. We meet in the North transept at 09:15. On some Sundays we ring for services in the afternoon at 16:00 or 18:30.
We practise on Monday evenings between 19:30 and 21:15 (any cancellations are shown below) and there is a practice in the Teaching Centre between 18:30 and 19:30.

Visiting ringers are welcome to join us. Please let the secretary know beforehand so we can arrange for someone to meet you.

Video

More video clips of the Worcester Cathedral bells

Audio

Click on the green play button to the left of the title to begin playing.

Worcester Cathedral Clock (1m12s)

The C# Eight (London Surprise Major) (1m05s)

The Harmonic Minor Ten (Stedman Caters) (1m02s)

The Peal of Twelve (Stedman Cinques) (1m20s)

The Bells

compiled by Christopher J Pickford

The central tower contains a ring of 12 bells in the key of B natural with three semitone bells (also hung for ringing) and a bourdon bell (hung dead) for the clock.

Bell Founder and date Diameter (inches) Nominal cwt. qrs. lbs.
1. John Taylor & Co, 1928 29” 1468 6 3 8
2. John Taylor & Co, 1928 30½” 1308 7 1 1
3. John Taylor & Co, 1928 31” 1235 7 2 20
4. John Taylor & Co, 1928 32½” 1099 7 3 25
4b. John Taylor & Co, 1928 33½” 1036 8 0 15
5. John Taylor & Co, 1928 35” 980.5 8 2 19
6. John Taylor & Co, 1928 36½” 922 10 0 6
6b. John Taylor & Co, 1928 38” 871 10 2 24
7. John Taylor & Co, 1928 39½” 823 12 0 1
8. John Taylor & Co, 1928 43½” 733 14 3 26
8b. John Taylor & Co, 1928 45” 692 16 1 16
9. John Taylor & Co, 1928 48” 652.5 20 0 6
10. John Taylor & Co, 1928 51” 616 25 2 10
11. John Taylor & Co, 1928 57” 548.5 34 3 4
12. John Taylor & Co, 1928 64” 488.8 48 0 2
Bourdon John Taylor & Co, 1868 76⅜” A 82 3 24

 

Bell Inscriptions

1. JOHANNES TAYLOR LOVGHBOROVGH FVDIT MDCCCLXIX
Waist: S : MATTHIAS
Opposite: THIS BELL IS GIVEN / TO THE GLORY OF GOD / IN LOVING MEMORY OF / MARTIN ABELL / A KING’S SCHOLAR / B.1840 – D.1928 / (Taylor’s rectangular mark) / RECAST 1928
2. JOHANNES TAYLOR LOVGHBOROVGH FVDIT MDCCCLXIX
Waist: S : JUDAS JACOBI
Opposite: (Taylor’s circular mark) / RECAST 1928
3. JOHANNES TAYLOR LOVGHBOROVGH FVDIT MDCCCLXIX
Waist: S : SIMON ZELOTES
Opposite: (Taylor’s circular mark) / RECAST 1928
4. JOHANNES TAYLOR LOVGHBOROVGH FVDIT MDCCCLXIX
Waist: S : JACOBVS ALPHÆI
Opposite: (Taylor’s circular mark) / RECAST 1928
4b. JOHANNES TAYLOR LOVGHBOROVGH FVDIT MDCCCLXIX
Waist: S : PAVLVS
Opposite: (Taylor’s circular mark) / RECAST 1928
5. JOHANNES TAYLOR LOVGHBOROVGH FVDIT MDCCCLXIX
Waist: S : MATTHÆVS
Opposite: (Taylor’s circular mark) / RECAST 1928
6. JOHANNES TAYLOR LOVGHBOROVGH FVDIT MDCCCLXIX
Waist: S : BARTHOLOMÆVS
Opposite: (Taylor’s circular mark) / RECAST 1928
6b. J : TAYLOR LOVGHBOROVGH A : D MDCCCLXXV
Waist: S : MARCVS
Opposite: (Taylor’s circular mark) / RECAST 1928
7. JOHANNES TAYLOR LOVGHBOROVGH FVDIT MDCCCLXIX
Waist: S : THOMAS
Opposite: (Taylor’s circular mark) / RECAST 1928
8. JOHANNES TAYLOR LOVGHBOROVGH FVDIT MDCCCLXIX
Waist: S : PHILIPPVS
Opposite: (Taylor’s circular mark) / RECAST 1928 / THE WORCESTERSHIRE AND DISTRICT / CHANGE RINGING ASSN. GAVE ME
8b. JOHANNES TAYLOR LOVGHBOROVGH FVDIT A : D MDCCCLXXV
Waist: S : LVCAS
Opposite: (Taylor’s circular mark) / RECAST 1928
9. JOHANNES TAYLOR LOVGHBOROVGH FVDIT MDCCCLXIX
Waist: S : ANDREAS
Opposite: (Taylor’s circular mark) / RECAST 1928 / THIS BELL WAS GIVEN BY / MRS. E. THOMAS / AND HER SON / E.P. THOMAS
10. JOHANNES TAYLOR LOVGHBOROVGH FVDIT ANNO DOMINI MDCCCLXIX
Waist: S : JOHANNES
Opposite: (Taylor’s circular mark) / RECAST 1928 / TO THE GLORY OF GOD / AND IN MEMORY OF / NORMAN OGILVY, PRIEST / SOMETIME RECTOR OF HANBURY IN THIS DIOCESE / BORN OCT. 6. 1839. DIED JUNE 7. 1903. / AND OF / EMILY, HIS WIFE / BORN NOV. 27. 1841. DIED MAY 12. 1926. / AND OF / ALICE, THEIR DAUGHTER / BORN MARCH 17. 1871. DIED MAY 13 1926
11. JOHANNES TAYLOR LOVGHBOROVGH FVDIT ANNO DOMINI MDCCCLXIX
Waist: S : JACOBVS
Opposite: (Taylor’s circular mark) / RECAST 1928 / IN MEMORY OF THE MEN OF WORCESTERSHIRE / WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR, / ESPECIALLY J. ROBERT BLAKE & EDWARD S. BLAKE, / SONS OF THE RECTOR OF ST. HELEN’S, WORCESTER.
12. JOHANNES TAYLOR LOVGHBOROVGH FVDIT ANNO DOMINI MDCCCLXIX
Waist: S : PETRVS
Opposite: THIS PEAL OF BELLS / WAS RECAST BY / JOHN TAYLOR & CO. OF LOUGHBOROUGH / IN 1928 / * * * / W. MOORE EDE D.D. / DEAN OF WORCESTER. / JOSEPH SMITH, CLERK OF THE WORKS / OF THE CATHEDRAL.
Bourdon. SVRGE QVI DORMIS ET EXVRGE A MORTVIS ET ILLVMINABIT TE CHRISTVS / JOHANNES TAYLOR, LOVGHBOROUVGH, FVDIT ANNO DOMINI MDCCCLXVIII. / IN VSVM ECCLESIAE CATHEDRALIS CHRISTI ET BEATÆ MARIÆ VIRGINIS IN CIVITATE ET COMITATV VIGORNIENSI
Waist: (four coats of arms – 1) England, 2) the See of Worcester, 3) the Dean and Chapter of Worcester and 4) the City of Worcester)

 

Downloads

History of the Bells

Detailed history of the Worcester Cathedral bells by Chris Pickford

Contact the Worcester Cathedral Tower

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