St Mary’s eight bells are housed in a cast iron frame in a tower and steeple which rises 156 feet from the ground, stunningly situated at the end of Church Green in Witney. There were originally five bells but three have been added to complete the present ring of eight which date from 1660 to 1938.
Witney Bell ringers practice on Tuesday evenings between the hours of 7:30 pm – 9:00pm, when we practice how to ring up bells, ring call changes, ring methods, ring them down, and then sometimes adjourn to the pub for a de-brief! We practice mid-week so that we can be at our best to ring the bells for Sunday Service between 09:45 and 10:45 and for special occasions like Easter, Christmas, and New Year. You need to be reasonably able bodied as there are 48 steps up the tower to reach our large, historic and well-ventilated Ringing Room.
Witney bell ringers have an annual tower dinner and outing and join in the other social activities with our ringing friends and their families from the 24 other towers in the Witney & Woodstock branch covering West Oxfordshire, ranging from Broadwell in the west, to Woodstock and Tackley in the east. We have an annual Summer Social, various competitions, and an annual branch outing to another part of the country.”
Some of us attend the services, some don’t, and you do not have to be a member of the congregation to ring the bells at most churches. In fact, bell ringing is a truly international and sociable hobby as ringers are welcomed at most towers all over the world, in countries as far apart as France, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, and Canada. It is superb physical and mental exercise.
If you are aged from 10 upwards and would like to try learning to ring, or especially if you are a returning ringer, please fill out the contact form at this link: Contact - Witney and Woodstock Branch (odg.org.uk).
Details of Witney Bells can be found at this link: Witney - Witney and Woodstock Branch (odg.org.uk)