The population of the parish is fluid and during the last fifty years the band has had to be repeatedly reformed as experienced ringers have left the area. In 2010 ringing ceased altogether while the tower's stonework was refurbished. However, in 2013 some learners were recruited and there is now a regular practice at 7pm every Wednesday.
Full circle bell ringing is a challenging, social hobby, once described as friendly, physical 'Sudoku'. It is a team activity that stimulates the brain and helps keep you fit ... it also makes a glorious sound. Many consider ringing to be their contribution to church life, others do it for the pure pleasure and the company it brings. New ringers are always welcome, whether they want to learn for the first time or are returning to ringing after a break.
The eight bells were cast and fitted by Charles and George Mears of the Whitechapel Foundry in 1848. The first peal was rung that year and another is recorded two years later on the death of Revd. Henry Handley Norris who, as Rector of the new parish of South Hackney, had campaigned for the building of the new church. In the same year, the clock was added "by public subscription" and its drive mechanism runs through the ringing chamber. In 1907 the 2nd was recast as it had cracked, so now we have:
|Tenor||19-0-11||(= 970 Kg) E flat|
|7||12-3-21||(= 657 Kg)|
|6||10-1-17||(= 528 Kg)|
|5||8-2-18||(= 440 Kg)|
|4||6-2-13||(= 336 Kg)|
|3||6-3-1||(= 343 Kg)|
|2||5-1-12||(= 272 Kg)|
|Treble||5-2-1||(= 280 Kg)|
The bells are still hung in the original 1848 oak frame. In 1954 all eight were rehung with new bearings. They had to be taken out through the roof because the organ had been rebuilt and enlarged after the war just below the ringing chamber. The unsafe old stone spire was removed and replaced with the current copper spire. In 2014 the rope guides on Treble and 2nd were augmented with guides for the 3rd, 4th and 5th and the clappers on the back six bells were lengthened, making the bells much easier to ring.
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You can also read news items relating to Bell Ringing at St John of Jerusalem here