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OS: SO741832 show on a map

Highley, St Mary

I rang in St Mary, the Parish Church of Highley as part of a tour in 2006. The church was built sometime around 1100 and the tower was replaced sometime in the 15th century.

The guy who opened up for us told us that they do not have their own ringers and that for weddings a team of ringers from Chelmarsh do the honours. He warned us that it was a bit of a workout ringing these bells. The stone spiral staircase was very narrow and the headroom challenging for some of us but the ringing room was a nice spacious area with the sun shining through a high window. He was right about a workout, I rang up #5 and it was hard work, I then had a go on #3 and this seemed a little easier but it was probably because it was a lighter bell and I was getting used to it. We were all having similar experiences. Being somewhat a glutton for punishment I finished off on the Tenor. Someone suggested that this old set of bells had plain bearings which would explain why they were such hard work. For all the hard work, it was a nice tower and an interesting experience. I don't know what they sounded like from outside but from inside the tower they didn't sound that wonderful.

The Bells

Entrance to ringing room
Entrance to ringing room

I found it odd that there was no information on the bells anywhere that I could find. There were six bells and we were told that the bells were very old, the ropes were very new and that the tenor was 15cwt. There was also some speculation that the reason that ringing them was such hard work was that they still used plain bearings.

I subsequently found that Dove's Guide includes some details of the bells at St Mary.

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