[Bell Historians] Fort William

Bryan McCahey b.mccahey at oUIGr8IAuuUFSs-xBRanHDR4hpT6Sv2kOhZXTyWCh73zvdQT7cC7T4P4SbTcMOnif36ZZTBN2LPN0Q.yahoo.invalid
Wed Mar 24 20:39:08 GMT 2010

The 8 bell chime in Fort William is indeed at St. Mary's RC Church to the east of the town. I did a knock-knock there when on holiday in 1995. The parish priest gave me the tower key and was very happy for me to explore unaccompanied. There was an old people's home immediately next door so he asked me to ring only for a few minutes, which I duly did! They were a magnificent Taylor chime of 24 cwts in D, contemporary with the church (1930s, I think). The tower is massive and rises above the sanctuary at the east end. Access was from a prominent stair turret in the north west corner of the tower, accessed from the rather elaborate sanctuary. 

I seem to remember quite an impressive painted ceiling below the tower a la Buckfast, but might be wrong here. The church itself has an impressive parabolic vaulted roof to the nave and is reminscent, inside, of a 1930s art deco cinema. Because the tower is so squat, there is no ringing room. Consequently the baton clavier is attached to one side of the bell frame itself with no sound-proofing cabin for protection.  Why the chiming appratus was not positioned at ground-level is unclear. Perhaps for aesthetic reasons?  The noise from the clavier was understandably deafening and it was just as well I only rang a few hymn tunes and some plain hunt! Probably because of the unsatisfactory ringing arrangements (and possibly complaints from the home next door) the bells were not rung very often. The installation was in good order though and the bellchamber very clean and well maintained. The small louvres are in rows of four round-headed arches on each side. An
 unusual feature was that some were hinged for opening. Several were ajar, I think.

Bryan McCahey

From: Richard Smith <richard at N0eGM5vTn3eUlENKF-KesMQuVQSTr3S1qYMTjWgmuNGyZVoADkoxUFLE6pB8v-j4B35xgFnzrZpfSYQ.yahoo.invalid>
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com
Sent: Wed, March 24, 2010 11:21:08 AM
Subject: Re: [Bell Historians] Fort William

Mike wrote:

> I have been asked for information about the bells at St 
> Mary's Church, Fort William. Can anyone help?  Is this the 
> R.C. church, perhaps?

Dove claims the unringable four are in St Andrew's, which is 
the dedication of the Episcopal church there.  The Catholic 
church is dedicated to St Mary.  From memory, there are four 
churches in Fort William with towers that look substantial 
enough to house a light four, and it's possible that one of 
the others may be dedicated to St Andrew too.



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