Bells and Bellringing at St Martin's in the Bull Ring, Birmingham

Picture of Church

Bell Details

Number of bells:
16
Tenor weight:
39cwt 1qr 19lbs in C

Ringing Times

Sunday Ringing:
10 - 11am
Practice Night:
Tuesday 7.30 - 9pm (1st, 3rd and 5th)

Contact Information

Ringing Master:
Michael Wilby
Tower Secretary:
John Fielden

About the ringing

St Martin's has a long tradition of change-ringing on the higher numbers dating back to 1758. It was the first tower to record 100 peals of Stedman Cinques (reached in 1914), and the first live radio broadcast of ringing took place from here in 1924. In the 1980s the Sunday Service band rang peals of Spliced and Orion Surprise Maximus; in 1991 the bells were augmented to create the world's first ring of 16.

The current Sunday Service band is very strong in terms of members and ability. Attendance usually numbers in excess of 20; methods, including Orion Surprise Maximus and Bristol Surprise Sixteen, are rung to a high standard every week.

The band provides the nucleus for the Birmingham entry for the National Twelve Bell Striking Contest for the Taylor Trophy, which Birmingham has held a record 16 times in the 34 year contest history. Since 2005 the band which has rung in the competition has comprised all St Martin's ringers.

In November 2008 the Sunday Service band rang a peal of Bristol Surprise Sixteen to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the first peal in the tower, which had also been rung by the St Martin's ringers.

The Tuesday practice operates at an advanced level, concentrating on 12 and 16-bell method ringing. It provides valuable opportunities for ringers in Birmingham to build on existing higher-numbers abilities and develop their striking and method ringing skills.

The practice is structured with a method repertoire reflecting what is rung on a Sunday, and providing a route for ringers to progress from an entry-level of Stedman Cinques through to complex methods and spliced.

Repertoire on 12:
Stedman Cinques, Cambridge S Maximus, Bristol S Maximus, Phobos S Maximus, Zanussi S Maximus, Orion S Maximus, and spliced in these methods.

Repertoire on 16:
Stedman Septuples, Littleport Little S Sixteen, Bristol S Sixteen

Visitors are welcome to join the practices or Sunday ringing sessions and will be accomodated as appropriate.  We would ask that prospective groups contact us beforehand, especially with regard to Sundays as the tower is often full and ringing is run to a tight schedule.  The bells can be made readily available to visiting bands at other times by arrangement.