Are you interested in bell ringing? If so please do contact Andrew Goldthorpe Secretary – Witney & Woodstock branch, ODG 07709 461597

Here is background information on a peal of bells 

A peal is the special name given to a specific type of performance of change ringing which meets certain exacting conditions for duration, complexity and quality. It is a feat of concentration, skill as well as endurance so they tend to be rung for special occasions only!

On a typical 8 bell tower like St Mary’s, a “Triples” peal takes around three hours to ring; it must comprise at least 5040 unique numerical sequences or “changes” on up to seven working bells; the time depends on several factors including the number of changes and the weight of the bells, which affects the speed of ringing. The bells at St Mary’s are heavy, with our tenor (the number 8) weighing three quarters of a ton!

Some key conditions required for all peals are:

  • A peal shall start and end with rounds and shall be rung without interval.
  • No row shall be struck more than once before the next change is made.
  • Every bell must sound at every row throughout the peal.
  • Each bell must be rung continuously by the same person or persons.
  • The bells shall be audible outside the building in which they are contained.
  • No assistance of any kind shall be given to any ringer by any person not ringing in the peal.
  • The use of physical aids to memory in conducting and ringing is not permitted.
  • No error in calling shall be corrected later than during the change at which the call or change of method or non-method block would properly take effect.
  • Any shift or error in ringing shall be corrected immediately.

Composition of peals is a specialised and highly complicated area of change ringing, as it involves composing a peal according to the rules. The "Conductor" of the peal has to:

  • Control and ring their own bell in the correct sequence
  • Correct other ringers if they go wrong
  • Call the "bobs" and "singles" which are the "composition" – the equivalent of a musical score – that ensures the correct changes are rung in the correct sequence.

A peal can fail at any point if there is a mix-up of bells which cannot be put right; this can happen only minutes from the end! This is what happened after 2:15 mins when we attempted and failed to ring a peal at Witney on the 26th August!

Here is a link to our blog posting on the branch website:

Exploring Spirituality Programme 2019

Exploring Spirituality Programme 2019

The Exploring Spirituality Programme 2019 booklet lists events, together and details of Sunday Services and Prayer through the week across the Benefice of Witney.

If you are planning to attend an event or want more details please contact the office. Financial assistance is available if a book needs to be purchased as part of a course.

Click here to download ESP 2019 The Exploring Spirituality Programme 2019 booklet

775 Sermon Series

Do join us as we celebrate our 775th Anniversary with a series of sermons:


    Sept 9th The Rev'd Toby Wright A Christlike Church
    The sermon text is here: Feast 2018
    Oct 7th The Ven Judy French A Servant Church
    Dec 9th The Rev'd Dr Joanna Collicutt A Pondering Church


CHANGED DATE: Feb 3rd Baroness Caroline Cox A Courageous Church • Feb 17th The Rev'd Helen Cameron A United Church • Mar 10th The Rt Rev'd Steven Croft A Learning Church • Apr 21st Fr Stephen Tucker A Resurrection Church • May 5th The Rt Rev'd Chris Lowson A Kingdom Church • Jun 16th Sr Stella CSMV A Contemplative Church • Jul 7th The Team Vicar A Creation Church • Aug 4th Robin Brunner-Ellis A Renewing Church • Sep 8th The Rt Rev'd Colin Fletcher A Missional Church

Witney Flower Festival 2019

Plans are well in hand for the Witney Flower Festival 2019 which takes place 5th to 7 July 2019. Full details to be posted here over the next few months.

In the meantime please do take a look at this video of the 2016 Flower Festival which reminds us all of what to expect next summer.

Witney Wonderland

We have teamed up with a local charity, Joss Searchlight and a number of generous sponsors to host the first Witney Wonderland Festival in the church. Expect to find St Mary's full of christmas trees, each individually decorated to reflect what Christmas means to different parts of our community. There will also be a fantastic Christmas scene to delight children of all ages.

As we look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus at Christmas, our Carol services will be extra special this year; we'll be hosting a number of local schools as well as the Mayoress's Carol service on December 14th and the service of lessons and carols on Christmas Eve. There'll also be a number of special events throughout December, including concerts, bands, sing a long film nights, community vocal and dance groups and even a special visit from Santa. Find out more by visiting

Raise the roof

Severe winter frosts have destroyed the limestone slates on St Mary’s Roof. We need to replace them before winter sets in. Local Witney people have already sponsored 2,200 slates. Only 1,800 slates to go!!

Please Sponsor a Slate for £10. Your civic landmark church needs you!

Donate with JustGiving and PayPal

Please find out more


Annual Accounts

Our stewardship enables us to fulfil God's call and share in God's mission

The Church is the new creation, it is life and joy, it is the sacramental fellowship in which we share the ultimate purpose of God, made real for us now in our hearing the Word and sharing the Sacrament.
Rowan Williams

Click here to view the Witney Parish 2017 Annual Report and Accounts

Annual Review 2017