Worldwide celebration to mark 200th anniversary of the Ellacombe Chimes
A worldwide celebration to mark the 200th anniversary of a unique bell-ringing invention will take place on Saturday 26th June, led by the English parish church where it all began.
Bells will ring throughout four continents, played at noon local time in each location, to celebrate the bicentenary of the Ellacombe Chimes, which were invented at St Mary’s Church in Bitton, South Gloucestershire, in 1821.
The ‘Chime around the World’ celebration, which crosses 11 time zones, will start in New Zealand and finish in Vancouver in Canada 17 hours later. At least 100 churches and towers will be participating.
Among the many taking part in the UK are Bath Abbey, Dunblane Cathedral and Llandaff Cathedral.
Bitton Parish History Group is organising the event jointly with St Mary’s Church.
The chiming system was designed 200 years ago by the Rev’d Henry Thomas Ellacombe, from St Mary’s Church at Bitton, near Bristol. The apparatus, now used in bell towers across the world, enables one trusted person to ring the bells instead of six or eight bell ringers. Ellacombe originally made the invention to dispense with ‘wayward’ bell ringers.
During the COVID-19 pandemic the invention has enabled bells to continue to be rung.
A 150-page paperback book, called Ellacombe Chimes: Two Hundred Years ((ISBN 978-1-304-70761-1) has been published to mark the bicentenary. It features the participating churches/towers, as well as the history of the chimes and its inventor.
The book is available from the publisher, Lulu priced £13.78, plus delivery. Any profits from the sale will go to St Mary’s.
A list of participants can be found here:
Key contacts by country/region are shown here: http://www.bittonhistory.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Key-contacts.pdf
A video showing the invention is shown here: https://youtu.be/NH5WDNrLFo8
For further information on the chimes please visit: http://www.bittonhistory.org.uk/ellacombe-chimes/
For more information or HD photos contact Mike Gates, secretary of Bitton Parish History Group, at [email protected] or on 07985 956454