see Clubs, Organisations and Services

Information on Bellringing at St Mary's is being prepared - meanwhile all queries to the Tower Captain, Mr John Durham 01635 866524 - thank you.

Special arrangements are being made for bellringing at St Mary's on the Royal Wedding Day on 29th April.

On the 29th, bells will be rung as follows:

9.30am - 10.15am; Celebration ringing by the Bucklebury band.

2.00pm - 5.00pm: Full 8 bell Peel : ringing a special method called Chapel Row Delight; this will require some 5,000 changes and take about 3 hours non-stop. This particular method has not been rung before and will require a high degree of skill to complete it. Depending on the wind direction, it will probably be audible from the Farm Park where the main Tea in the Park celebration will be taking place.

Visitor access to the Church Tower will be welcome from 9.30am onwards on Friday but no entry until after the main Peel in the afternoon.

Background information
St Mary’s church has a ring of 8 bells, hung for full-circle ringing in the English change ringing tradition. The lightest, highest-pitched bell (the ‘treble’) weighs approximately 3 cwt (150 kg) and the heaviest, lowest-pitched bell (the ‘tenor’) weighs just under 13 cwt (660 kg). The bells are tuned to an octave in the key of G.
The casting dates of the bells range from 1610 and 1632 up to more modern bells cast in 1915. An even older bell, cast in 1581 developed a crack and had to be recast in 1926.
Bucklebury has a small local band drawn from the village, Upper Bucklebury and The Slade. On practice nights and for service ringing, we are supplemented by visitors from Stanford Dingley, Beenham and Thatcham.
The ringers are adults, mainly retired or semi-retired and in general have each been ringing for around 10 years. The tower captain and his wife, in contrast have each been ringing for over 40 years.
The bells are rung regularly for Sunday service and there is a regular practice night (Thursday). There is also ringing for special occasions such as weddings. Occasionally there are longer periods of ringing, either peals lasting 3 hours or quarter peals (45 minutes).
English-Style Change Ringing
‘Ringing the changes’ is a peculiarly English tradition. In this, the bells are rung in sequence down the scale starting from the highest note. On command, the bells change places, each bell sounding in a different position within the sequence every time it strikes. Ringers do not learn the individual sequences to be rung, rather they learn the way in which their bell moves within the changes as they are rung.
There are many thousands of possible ways to change the bells around - called ‘methods’ - and these are given unique names. Another peculiarity of English-style changeringing is that no aids are allowed - everything has to be done from memory.
On the Royal Wedding day, a peal in a specially-devised method called ‘Chapel Row Delight Major’ will be attempted. This involves ringing over five thousand changes, without stopping, following the particular rules for this method and will take nearly three hours of continuous concentration for all the ringers. For this reason, no access to the belfry can be permitted since any distraction causing even a momentary lapse of concentration could prove disastrous.