St Columbs Londonderry

This fine Cathedral has a square tower at its west end, upon which is erected an octagonal spire.  This tower was built in 1802, and the spire added twenty years later.  There were previous towers and spires, in which bells were hung.  The Society immediately planned for the building of a church in Derry, and in that same year sent over a chalice and paten of silver-gilt, inscribed with the arms of London and the Words "Eccelsia Dei in Civiatate Derriensi" (to the Church of God in the City of Derry). 

From them also came the two oldest bells.  The date and origin of these had been lost sight of for many years, owing to the omission of the old inscriptions at their recasting in 1812.  Recently, however, in a volume of the Parish Registers compiled between 1732 and 1776 the original inscriptions on all the bells were discovered written on a spare leaf at the end.  These showed that the oldest of the two bells had been "recast for Londonderry steeple" in 1614 and the other provided in 1630.  As the building of the Cathedral was not completed till 1633, these formed part of its original equipment.

In 1812 the Corporation which, from an early date, had often contributed towards repairs to the maintenance of the bells, bore a large portion of the expense of recasting seven bells and rehanging the peal.  Their minutes record a payment of £402 ordered to John Rudhall of Gloucester, for recasting, the Corporation to undertake the charges of bringing them to Derry and of erecting them in the Cathedral.  In the "Derry Journal" of August 3, 1813, it is mentioned that the bells were first rung after this recasting, on the proceeding Sunday (August 1) by a team of 8 ringers from Lincolnshire Militia.

Mears and Stainbank of London carried out a rehanging job on bells in 1895 but a major restoration was necessary in 1929, when Gillett & Johnston of the Croydon Bell Foundry recast all of the eight bells and added five more to give a ring of ten bells, providing various combinations of "eight", "six", and lesser numbers.  They include a light eight having 23 cwt Tenor, as well as a heavy eight with a 32 cwt Tenor.  The entire ring of bells was equipped with steel fittings, and hang in a steel frame.


Practice Night: None at present

Service Ring: Sunday Morning 10.30 - 11.00,Sunday Evening 15.30 - 16.00



Tower Contact:  Aubrey Fielding





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