What is the connection between St Paul’s Church, Wooburn and St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, Australia?
On a recent visit to Australia I visited St Patrick’s Cathedral in order to join their band of bell ringers for a practice. The Tower Captain began by explaining that the 8 bells in the Cathedral tower had been cast in Dublin by the Murphy bell foundry. What a coincidence! – St Paul’s, Wooburn also has a bell cast in the Murphy bell foundry. We have, in fact, the only one in Buckinghamshire and because of its rarity the bell is protected by a preservation order. Our bell is used to sound the hours on the church clock .
It was great to have the chance to ring the St Patrick’s bells – they are in fact the only complete set of Murphy bells which are still capable of being rung in the world. In between ringing I was able to look around the ringing chamber – I spotted a photograph on the wall of a band of English ringers, who came out to Australia on a ringing tour in 1934. Imagine my surprise when I recognised the names of two of the ringers! W H Fussell and G Martin are on the peal boards in St Pauls! These boards record special pieces of ringing.
Bellringing is a great hobby – ringers can be all ages from about 10 to over 80. Once proficient you can ring on bells in many different towers both in the UK and overseas.
If you are interested in learning to ring – or just want to find out a little more about what’s involved please contact Louise Walton (firstname.lastname@example.org ).