The Cathedral Bells as at May 2011 lay scattered next to the broken Cathedral Tower. The information below relates to the time prior to the massive destruction following the Christchurch earthquake of February 22nd, 2011.
The Cathedral bells are rung to the traditional method of change ringing, where the bells are rung full-circle, rather than swung or hit by an external hammer. The first set of ten bells was dedicated on 31 October 1881 and rung for the first time for the Cathedral’s consecration on the following day. They were tuned to the key of ‘D’ .
In 1978 a full peal of twelve new bells were installed and rung for the first time on Christmas Day that year, the old bells having been removed only days before. They were cast in Loughborough and much of the metal used came from the bells of Holy Trinity Church, Coventry, which had been dismantled and melted down the previous year. There is in fact a thirteenth bell, the flat 6 as it is called (although its pitch is actually C natural), and this is used to ring a peal in the key of G, using bells 2 to 9, when there are not enough ringers present to ring a full peal on twelve bells, in the key of of D.
The bellringers practice every Tuesday evening from 7pm to 9pm and ring on Sundays before the main services (ringing at 9am and 4.30pm) Visitors, both bellringers and non-ringers are welcome to watch the ringers at work. Please contact Chris Oldham (email@example.com) or Mike Clayton (firstname.lastname@example.org) for details.
For more details about Bellringing in Australia and New Zealand, including other churches with bells rung in the same manner, see www.anzab.org.au
The bells of ChristChurch Cathedral lay scattered beneath the destroyed Cathedral tower following a 6.3 earthquake centred on the Christchurch Central Business District. These images tell of far greater story then any words. The state and future of these bells is currently unknown. As at June 2011, no assessment as their condition has been possible, and entry into the central city, let alone the Cathedral area, severely restricted.