Electronic Bells

Andrew Aspland aaspland at y...
Tue Apr 8 16:39:42 BST 2003

In the Church Times:
Campanologists won't like this. St Edward's, Barnsley, in Wakefield
diocese, can now ring tunes on 15 bells, "from 'Hark, the herald angels' to
a popular song", says its Vicar, the Revd Harry Hall. It can also ring any
of eight peals in multiples of six minutes, or toll a very impressive
funeral bell, "as slow as we want it". All this is thanks to microchips
provided by Smith of Derby Ltd, who have installed two clock faces on the
tower with Westminster quarter chimes.
Smiths say the "authentic" sound comes from a set of electronic microchips,
each programmed to recreate the note, complete wirh the resonance and
harmonics of an English cast bell". Mr Hall's view is that this is an
improvement on what they had before: a single bell of three-quarters of a
ton, which was "loud and dreary". Yes, there was some local opposition -
not to the technology, but to the sound of bells at all. An
environmental-health officer who was called was unimpressed by the

The single bell was c. 9cwt by Warners 1902. Refurbished by Eayre and Smith
in the early 1990s. Has it gone elsewhere? I thought we had various
official documents about such installations which would effectively prevent
a faculty being granted - and Wilf Moreton is the adviser to the DAC. This
is a church for which Michael King had being trying to obtain a peal of

Electronic organs are now commonplace - and a great many (probably
indifferent) pipe organs have been removed from churches. Are we set to see
"loud and dreary" single bells replaced by electronic bells on a wider


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