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History of the Bells

19th Century: addition of the tower and installation of bells. 

Holy Trinity bell tower

Holy Trinity bell tower

The original structure of Holy Trinity was completed in 1872 and consecrated in 1874, but it was not until 1892 that the tower was added.

A generous donation in 1892 by Herbert and Caroline Keeling enabled the installation, in early 1893 of the long anticipated peal of 8 bells by John Taylor Bellfounders of Loughborough. Mr Keeling was a brewer from Stoke on Trent and, after spending holidays in Llandudno, he and his wife retired to the town.

Sadly Mrs Keeling died in November 1892 without hearing the bells. Mr Keeling may not have heard them either, as he died in 1893, though the Llandudno Advertiser (28 Jan 1893) reported that the eight bells had arrived from Loughborough and that Mr Keeling was one of the first people to view them. The Advertiser (4 March 1893) reported that the bells were rung muffled for Mr Keeling’s funeral service.

Each bell bears Taylors’ name and the date of casting as 25th July 1892, which is thought to be that of Mr and Mrs Keeling’s Silver Wedding anniversary. In addition the tenor bell is inscribed as follows:-

A M D G

IN REMEMBRANCE OF MANY MERCIES
THESE EIGHT BELLS WERE ERECTED IN
HOLY TRINITY CHURCH LLANDUDNO
AT THE EXPENSE OF HERBERT KEELING
AND CAROLINE HIS WIFE OF TUDNO VILLA
JULY 25 1892

On the opposite side of the bell is inscribed

JOHN MORGAN B.A. RECTOR

RICHARD CONWAY CHURCHWARDEN
HENRY ANDERSON CHURCHWARDEN

EDWIN TURNER ARCHITECT

Taylors’ records show that correspondence was carried out through the Architect, the total project being costed at £570.10s.0d. which was inclusive of a two and half per cent commission for the Architect and subject to a further two and half per cent discount for cash payment in full within one month of completion. The work on site was completed on 6 February 1893 and full payment received by Taylors on 10 February 1893.

A Dedication service presided over by the Bishop of St Asaph, was held in the church on the Thursday before Easter at 11am. The service also commemorated the completion of the 92ft tower and, according to the Llandudno Advertiser (April 1893), a ‘lively’ peal of Grandsire Triples was rung in 3 hours by the following ringers from Chester Cathedral:-

Treble James Moulton ©
2 Robert Jones
3 Alfred Griffiths
4 John Tomlinson
5 Thomas Newhall
6 Alfred Cross
7 Edward Rowlands
8 Frederick Jarvis & Geo. Griffiths

“Afterwards ringers, professional and local, about 30 in number were entertained to dinner at the Marine Hotel”.

20th century: maintenance.

Apart from routine maintenance, the only recorded work carried out on the bells since their installation, was in 1924 when Taylors renewed the gudgeon and bearing assemblies and refurbished the clappers and rollers. In 1954 Taylors carried out an inspection and the advised descaling, repainting of the metalwork and treating the woodwork plus the provision of new ropes.

In 1996 Stan Whittaker was appointed as tower captain, replacing William (Bill) Hawkins who was experiencing ill-health. Stan had only been a ringer for barely a year and was also the Parish treasurer. He had been told by Bill that substantial work would be required on the bells. There was only a small band of ringers present at the time and so the immediate emphasis was to try and increase the numbers. With the Central Council of Church Bellringers’ Association promoting a drive to increase the number of ringers for the Millennium, and local initiatives, several more were added to the band.

It was during this time that a visit to a Friday evening practice by Brian and Diana White (Whites of Appleton www.whitesbellhangers.co.uk) ignited interest in really establishing the state of the bells and what needed doing. Brian subsequently reported that a complete refurbishment and retuning be considered, estimated cost in excess of £30,000.

21st century: restoration.

By 2001 the number of bellringers had grown sufficiently for a refurbishment project to be considered. A Belfry Restoration Appeal committee was set up comprising ringers, clergy, wardens and parishioners, with ringer Enid Horsfield as chairperson. By July 2002 and after many fundraising events, donations, coffee mornings, 60’s evenings, a sponsored walk, two fun days which included parachuting teddy bears from the top of the tower, sufficient had been raised to start the work.

Bell ringers

The last ring before the bells were lowered, 11 August 2002. Left to right: Ann Thomas, Lynn Ferriday, Joan Edwards, Sue Calvert, Enid Horsfield, John Horsfield, Sid Burrows (a visitor aged 92 – we were always pleased to see him, sadly he died 1/8/2006 aged 96), Stan Whittaker (Tower Captain), Peter Goodwin, James Whittaker.

The Committee was extremely grateful for a considerable donation from the Ratcliff Trust, one of whose trustees Miss Carolyn Ratcliff had by this time become a bellringer.

Removal of bell

Stan Whittaker (Tower Captain) by the Tenor before Graham Clifton of Whites hoists it onto the lorry for removal to Appleton, August 2002.

And so it was that Whites of Appleton (who had recently completed work on bells at St Paul’s Cathedral in London), were instructed and work started on 12 August 2002. The bells were removed from the tower and remained on view in the church for a few days, before being taken first to the Whitechapel Foundry for tuning, and then to White’s works at Appleton where they received new fittings and headstocks.

Bells are returned

The bells return, November 2002.

The bells were returned to Llandudno in November and bellringing started again towards the end of the month.

Bell hoist

Carolyn Ratcliff (a local ringer) operates the electric hoist taking the treble up through the ringing chamber back to the bell chamber, supervised by Graham Clifton of Whites of Appleton in November 2002.

A Rededication service was held on the afternoon of Sunday 15 December 2002 conducted by the Rector Canon Philip Cousins and the Bishop of Bangor, the Right Reverend Saunders Davies. Among those present were Lady Mostyn (whose ancestors had donated the land on which the church stands), the Mayor of Llandudno Cllr Michael Pearce, Carolyn and David Ratcliff (The Ratcliff Trust), Brian and Diana White and Graham and Dorothy Clifton (Whites of Appleton), members of the Appeal committee, local ringers, members of the North Wales Association of Church Bellringers, parishioners and visitors. The bells were rung and refreshments served in the church hall. The local bellringers provided some light entertainment with their version of The Twelve Days of Christmas which had been specially adapted by Michael Edwards, husband of bellringer Joan.

Re-dedication service

Re-dedication service, 15 December 2002.

On Saturday 1 February 2003 a peal of Plain Bob Triples was rung in 3hrs 7mins by members of the North Wales Association of Church Bellringers to celebrate the re-hanging of the bells, and the centenary of the Association founded on 14 February 1903 and whose inaugural meeting took place in Llandudno. The band included the Association Ringing Master David Stanworth and local tower captain Stan Whittaker.

Treble Ron Miers
2 Rona Shaw
3 Michael Pospieszalski
4 David Davies ©
5 Donald Marshall
6 David Stanworth
7 Tony Diserens
8 Stan Whittaker

Some incentive for this project came from the fact that in 2003 the Central Council’s Annual General Meeting hosted by the North Wales Association in its centenary year, was going to be held in Llandudno, and we certainly wanted to have the bells in good order for that. The May Bank Holiday Weekend seemed to be a great success and many good comments were made about the bells. The Red Arrows even obliged by their flying skills, daily entertaining vast crowds who watched not only from the promenade but also from any vantage point they could find.

Llandudno certainly lived up to its claim as The Queen of the Welsh Resorts.

Bell ringers

The President’s invitation band who rang before the AGM of the Central Council in may 2003. Left to right: Ron Warford, Durham & Newcastle Diocesan Association; Margaret Oram, Sussex County Association;. Ian Oram, Society of Royal Cumberland Youths; Derek Sibson (C), Society of Royal Cumberland Youths; Jane Sibson, Peterborough Diocesan Guild; George Bonham, Ely Diocesan Association; John Armstrong, Essex Association; Ian Smith, Sussex County Association.

 

Information on bellringing at Holy Trinity can be found here. 

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