FA Cup of Bellringing

22nd June 2023

Bells will ring out across the city of Sheffield this weekend as Sheffield Cathedral gets ready to host the national 12 Bell Competition – the biggest event in the bellringing calendar.

Bellringing – Sheffield Cathedral to host National 12 Bells Contest

This elite competition brings together the ten best bell-ringing teams from across the UK battling it out for the Taylor Trophy.

And the public can have a ringside seat (Ed – sorry!)  as the Cathedral is setting up deckchairs and food vendors on its forecourt for the competition which takes place this Saturday (24 June)

It’s the FA Cup of bell ringing and to ring accurately on 12 bells is very demanding. Most village churches have between six and eight bells, but there are around 100 towers in the country that have 12. Said Sheffield Cathedral’s Tower Secretary, Simon Reading, a former Ringing Master for 28 years.

And it’s certainly the biggest event in the calendar for the Sheffield bell team,” he added.

The contest for the Taylor Trophy has taken place every year since 1975 with a break for two years during the Covid pandemic. All ten teams taking part entered through an eliminator process which took place in March.

Simon said that this would be a great advert for Sheffield showcasing the quality of the cathedral’s acoustics.

Said Simon:

‘Even though many places have 12 bells a lot of them aren’t suitable for a contest like this. You need to have bells which you can hear very clearly. We’re fortunate that we have very good acoustics, and you can hear every bell in the ringing chamber.” 

The Dean of Sheffield, the Very Revd Abi Thompson said:

We are delighted to be hosting this year’s 12 Bell Competition and look forward to welcoming teams from across the country. 

“We are proud of our bells here in Sheffield, they provide a welcome to the city, an uplifting announcement of our worship, a joyful noise to accompany our celebrations and sometimes, the most solemn of muffled tolling for national periods of mourning. 

“People are drawn to the sound of bells ringing and our city soundscape is greatly enhanced by the work of our wonderful bellringing team. 

“It’s a great opportunity for Sheffielders to come along and see their Cathedral at its very best,’ she added.

Saturday 24 June – There will be food vendors on the forecourt and the Cathedral’s 1554 Coffee and Gift Shop will be open throughout the day.