Did you hear the bells?

24th May 2021

Cathedral bells have begun to ring out across the country as Covid restrictions lift, allowing bellringers to gather in bell tower chambers under the rule of six – just in time to celebrate Pentecost.

Cathedral bells rang out for Pentecost

Many rang bells together, instead of what has been for many, a simple tolling of a single bell or even silence in many places.

At Durham Cathedral, bellringers once again climbed the tower to ring the cathedral bells for the service on Sunday afternoon.

It was the first time this has happened since the country first went into lockdown in March 2020. The bell ringers followed the rule of six, so six bells rather than the usual ten bells were rung.

Nathan Fisher, the Bell Major of the Durham Cathedral Guild of Bell Ringers, said:

“This is a moment we have been looking forward to. The ringing will sound different, with six bells rather than the full ten. Nonetheless, it will be a good start to returning to a normal Sunday routine of ringing for the cathedral services.

“Durham is a cathedral city and the bells have been conspicuous by their absence. I am grateful to my fellow bell ringers who will join me on Sunday as we shake the dust from the ropes and enable the bells to once again ring out across Durham.”

Durham Cathedral Guild of Bell Ringers has 12 members. As they resume their bell ringing duties, they will rotate, taking turns, always following the rule of six. They are looking forward to the moment when further easing of lockdown allows ten people from different households to be in an indoor space, and they can ring all ten bells.

The first six to ring the bells were Robert Criddle, Chris Mansfield, Keith Hayton, Rachel Wells and Oliver Rice.