Bell ringers ring out the thousandth peal at Rotherham Minster

Bell ringers in Rotherham celebrated yesterday as they rang the thousandth peal at Rotherham Minster.

Led by tower captain Malcolm Turner, twelve members of the bell ringing group marked the occasion at their usual Sunday afternoon practice session.

Eight of those who took part on Sunday have rung more than 100 peals at the Minster.

“With the 1000th peal now having been rung, we would like to remember all past and present ringers, including those no longer with us,” said Malcolm.

The first peal was rung in the eighteenth century, on a set of bells replaced in 1821 and again in the 1920s.

Well-kept records show the names of the ringers in every peal except the first four, and the composition used for the last 900 peals.

The group has recently tried to raise money and attract new members by opening up the bell tower to visitors.

A new bell rope would cost around £200, and bell maintenance is made more difficult by the fact that only two bell foundries are still in existence in the UK.

Bell ringing relies entirely on volunteers, who organise practice sessions and even have to deal with birds’ nests which appear in the bell tower.

Malcolm, whose wife Helen is also a member of the group, said bell ringing kept him fit, active and healthy.

A full peal would involve at least 5,000 changes, which means that the bells sound in a different sequence more than 5,000 times. That takes at least three and a half hours.