We had arranged to visit Peterborough Cathedral on 23th March 2020 but the pandemic lockdown stopped all social interaction the week before and we had to postpone. Two and a bit years on and we were able to re-arrange our trip and we agreed a date with Peterborough, Monday 13th June 2022.
Ten of us were able to go, including Georgia’s sister Ella, visiting from Australia, and Mirjam our new ringer who is still at the learning bell handling stage.
We arrived in good time and congregated at the west door of the cathedral with two other visitors. Helena Thorpe, our host and ringing master, greeted us and led us into the building with instructions to sign in before we entered the spiral staircase.
It is over 100 steps to the ringing room but the stairway is wide with a good hand-rail so it was quite an easy climb. The last part is a walk on a wooden platform over a vaulted ceiling and then into a passage which surrounds the ringing room. Twelve ropes, tidy ringing circle and a tenor of 21cwt.
The bells were up, from the Peterborough Guild’s AGM at the weekend and we were immediately invited to ring in 3s and 4s, first on eight and then ten bells. Touches of Grandsire Caters and Little Bob Major were rung afterwards and we were then invited to ring all twelve in similar groupings.
Everyone managed the bells very well, ringing relatively slowly to allow for all twelve bells to ring. In some of the ringing we were aided by local ringers, perhaps giving a little advice if needed, as this was a new experience for most of us, but I was confident and went off to take photographs. Everything was fine!
As the evening went on more time was given to change ringing. A half course of Cambridge Royal preceded excellent touches of Erin Caters. The weather was warm as the sun became lower in the sky and several of us ventured onto the nave roof walkway to admire the view and hear the bells immediately beneath the tower.
The experience enjoyed was not only in the ringing, it was being inside a part of the cathedral not generally seen by the public, and meeting the cathedral ringers who were very welcoming.
A final group photograph outside rounded of a lovely evening and we drove home full of achievement and inspiration. Our thanks to the cathedral ringers and especially Helena Thorpe for leading us through the evening.
A great job done, well done everyone!
A video recording our visit can be found here https://youtu.be/5-Ze03RPrNI