For whom the bells toll

LOCKDOWN prevented the bells at St George’s Church, Hyde, from ringing out to mark a special event.

A celebration had been planned between August 14-16 to mark the centenary since the current bells were installed.

But because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the event has been put until next year.“We will do it next year – better late than never,” explained campanologist Jen Mellor, the deputy tower captain at St George’s.

St George’s has a team of 10 bell ringers which are led by tower captain Mags Shuttleworth.

And to mark the centenary the bells have been given new hemp ropes, which were manufactured by Loughborough firm Ellis Pritchard, to replace the old ones which had seen better days.

The new ropes cost £970 with the money raised by bell ringer June Evans while there were also contributions from Action Together, Cheshire Guild of Ringers and Lancashire Guild of Ringers.

The new ropes were hung by George and Wendy Lee while the old ones were donated to a church in Rawtenstall which did not have any.

It was back in 1832 that St George’s first had one solitary bell.

But a public subscription raised £831 9s 3d – more than £110,000 today – for a full peel of eight bells which were cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London, and which were transported by canal to Hyde in 1853.

They were taken down and recast 100 years ago by Taylor and Co, of Loughborough, at a cost of £1,400 – nearly £69,000 at today’s prices.

The bells were brought back to St George’s and they were dedicated by the Bishop of Chester on August 14, 1920.

Hyde In Old Photographs reported there was a large procession headed by the borough band while ringers from five counties were on hand to try out the new bells.

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