The bells play an important part in Worship at St George’s Church. The bells are unusual and are very special as they are a living memorial to those from our Parish who lost their lives in the First World War. The ten bells at St George's Church are fixed hemispherical, Ellacombe Chimes, by Mears and Stainbank in 1919. It is fitting that the bells are a living memorial to those who lost their lives in the First World War as they are played regularly and can be heard across Chorley town centre.
The bells are played using a series of ropes on a framework in the Tower Room. The heaviest bell is called the Tenor and the lightest bell is called the Treble. The bells can play hymns, both traditional and modern, and peals.
The bells were installed as a memorial to those from St George's Church who died in the First World War. A marble memorial bears witness to this in the Church Porch. St George's Bell Ringing Group is a member of the British Carillon Society. The bells we have at St George's are technically not Carillon bells - these need to have 23 or more bells usually played by a keyboard and pedals. However, the British Carillon Society has recognised that the bells at St George's make a worthy contribution, including being played regularly as well as the ability to play a wide selection of music. The Society has given St George's Bells the title of "Carillon Petite".
Ellacombe Chimes were invented by the Revd. Henry Thomas Ellacombe of Devon. This allowed a single person to chime the bells.
Using this system, the bells are kept static and a hammer is struck against the bell. Each hammer is connected by a rope to a fixed frame in the Tower Room. The ropes are taut, so pulling one of the ropes will strike the hammer against the bell. It is thought that Revd. Ellacombe created the system to make bell ringers redundant, as he did not like their unruly behaviour. Many Ellacombe Chimes have fallen into disrepair and have either been completely removed (sometimes leaving just the holes in the ceiling), or now have no ropes and can no longer be played. It is estimated there are less that fifty working Ellacombe Chimes remaining in the United Kingdom.
The bells were restored in 2013 in memory of Mrs Denise Collinson and there is a plaque in the Entrance Hall given by her Husband Mr John Collinson. The restoration work was undertaken by Taylors of Loughborough.
In April 2015, the bells took part in a St George’s Day Special broadcast by the BBC’s The One Show.
St George's Bell Ringers ring before and after the 10am Sunday Service and at Weddings. There is no age restriction, but supervision and training are provided. For further information please contact:
Victoria Gibson Dr LLB MA MRes PhD Bell Ringing Captain
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