The Church Bells
The bells of St Andrew's & St George's church,
Edinburgh, were cast at Whitechapel Bell Foundry in East London, a foundry
that has existed since 1420. It created Big Ben and the
These bells were installed in a wooden housing,
high in the church steeple, in 1788. They were used for change
ringing (where the bells rotate through a full circle) for over a century.
The change ringing ceased in 1903, when the bells
were thought not to be in a fit state to continue. Instead, small
clappers were attached to the bells, allowing them to be used to play hymn
The bells are now to be returned to Whitechapel
Bell Foundry for refurbishment and retuning. They will then be
re-hung in a metal frame in a new bell chamber in the church steeple, so
that change ringing might be heard again, one day, from the church.
The first five of the eight bells were removed
from the steeple, and lowered down the outside of the church in September
2003. Bells 6 and 7 will be removed and lowered inside the church at
a later date. The largest bell, the tenor bell, will remain in the
In comparison to England, there are very few
churches in Scotland that have bells that can ring changes. In
Cornwall alone, there are 300 sets. In the whole of Scotland, there
are only 17 sets, including two others in Edinburgh, St Mary's
Cathedral and St Cuthbert's Church.