Welcome to the website of Saffron Walden's Society of bell ringers. The site describes the rich and colourful history of the bells and bell ringing in Saffron Walden, more recent developments and project work associated with the bells and of course details of regular ringing as well as news and pictures of events.
G. Montague Benton, in his history of the bells, wrote in 1921 "No one can fail to be struck by the situation of the stately parish church of Saffron Walden; and its lofty spire-crowned tower, rising above the red-roofed houses and dominating the little town, holds also a proud position in the annals of bell-ringing." While Saffron Walden would today perhaps not be described as a "little town", everything else still holds true. The parish church of St Mary's is thought the largest in Essex with a nave of nearly 200'. It lies in a commanding position, on a hill, higher than the surrounding streets, such that it is can be seen prominently from every direction. It is of lavish design having been almost entirely rebuilt in the perpendicular style between 1450 and 1530. The architect is thought to have been John Wastell, the master mason of Kings College and Great St Mary's in Cambridge. The tall, 193', stone octagonal spire which crowns the medieval tower, was added in 1832 to designs by Thomas Rickman, inventor of the descriptive architectural terms of Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular.
Visiting ringers are always welcome on both practice night and for Sunday service ringing (ringing times). If you would like to take up the fascinating hobby of church bell ringing, either here or elsewhere, please check out the learning to ring section. Please feel free to send us feedback, comments, questions, or requests to visit.
St Mary's is located in the northern reaches of the North Western Branch of the Essex Association of Change Ringers.
Click here to hear Saffron Walden bells (Sunday Service ringing on 18 October 2009).
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