Bells in the United Kingdom Ring in the New Year

From call changes and diminishing rounds to Plain Bob Minor and Grandsire Triples, the bells of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland thundered into the New Year with the National Bell Festival.

Hundreds of bells joined in the pealing to ring out the old year and ring in the new. The annual bell ringing tradition had even more eyes – and ears! – peering into towers after the National Bell Festival selected the United Kingdom as our 2023 spotlight nation. We spent a year highlighting the rich bell ringing traditions and bell making heritage of the British Isles, and still there’s so much more to share!

A special thank you to the bell ringers at these towers, who braved the cold midnight air to set their bells swinging and who tagged their ringing to our event on BellBoard.

  • St. Mary the Virgin, Badby
  • St. Cuthbert’s Church, Benfieldside
  • St. Michael's Church, Braintree
  • St. Christopher's Church, Warden Hill, Cheltenham
  • St. Mary’s Church, Eastbourne
  • St. Giles Church, Haughton
  • St. Peter’s Church, Ipsley
  • St. Mary the Virgin, Shenfield
  • All Saints Church, Twickenham
  • All Saints Church, Wokingham
  • All Saints Church, Writtle
  • St. Mary's Church, Bridgwater
  • St. Matthew's Church, Hayfield
  • St. Peter & St. Paul Church, Old Brampton
  • Pershore Abbey

We can’t wait to have even more UK bell towers join us in years to come, and to see where the 2024 spotlight nation takes us! The reverberating ring of a bell crosses over boundaries and borders. It cares not for social or economic differences. We celebrate the diversity of people and the uniqueness of nations, but we also recognize how alike we all are as humans, and how bells have the power to gather people together in times of hardship and celebration alike.
Let’s keep bells ringing and let’s keep bringing people together – exchanging arts and culture, supporting youths and education, and empowering community development. Where will bell ringing take us next year? You’ll have to stay tuned to find out!

Cover image: Change ringers work the ropes at St. John the Baptist Church, Hatherleigh, Devon, United Kingdom. Courtesy: Hatherleigh Bellringers.