Ringing Heritage

The St Peter Mancroft Guild of Ringers

The St Peter Mancroft Guild of Ringers is a voluntary guild whose members are elected by other members. The Guild, which is affiliated to both the church and the Norwich Diocesan Association of Ringers, is over a hundred years old. Prior to this there was a ringing society called the Norwich Scholars who unfortunately fell out with the church and were subsequently disbanded.

Under the leadership of an elected Ringing Master who holds office for up to 3 years at a time, the Guild aims to ring for Sunday services, major Christian festivals, weddings, civic events, funerals and at regular practice nights.

Practice night is Monday evenings 7.45pm-9.15pm. Entry is by the small external door at the base of the tower. If you would like ring or to learn more please visit the ringers' website.

The Mancroft Ringing Discovery Centre (MRDC)

St Peter Mancroft is one of the most important historic ringing towers in the country. The first ever true peal was rung in the tower in 1715. To commemorate the 300th anniversary of the first peal and to enhance the ringing at St Peter Mancroft, major changes within the tower were completed in 2018 with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The changes included reinstatement of a ringing floor at the level of the original 18th Century ringing gallery, restoration of historic peal boards and creation of the Mancroft Ringing Discovery Centre (MRDC), a bell ringing heritage and training centre with a peal of 8 state-of-the-art training bells.

History of the bells

It is suggested that St Peter Mancroft would have had five bells soon after the tower was completed c.1510. Work on the tower had probably begun in the 1390s and by c.1431 the building had reached a stage where a bell could be hung. In 1602 a treble was added to the five bells, with the new bell being cast by William Brend.

By 1652 there was also a Sanctus bell. In 1672-6 the ring was augmented to eight. In 1724 the bells were again augmented to ten, with the two trebles being cast by John Stephens. Stephens appears to have carried out the work out speculatively, but the expected subscriptions for the payment of the new bells never materialised and they were removed from the tower before October of the same year, only months after being installed.

In 1735 it was proposed to augment the bells to twelve and a subscription list was opened. However, in the event not enough money was collected to buy four new bells so two were bought, augmenting the ring to ten.

A new peal of twelve bells was cast in 1775 which replaced the earlier ten, and these are the bells that are still in use today, with the exception of the tenor bell which split in 1814 and had to be re-cast. In 1909 the ring was augmented with a flat 6th bell to allow a lighter ring of eight to be used and a 14th bell was (another treble) was installed in the 1997 to allow a light ring of ten. The peal is in the key of C and the tenor bell weighs 37cwt (1.85 tons).

For more information view the website of the St Peter Mancroft Guild of Ringers.