The Ambergate Campanile

The Ambergate Campanile is the first complete ring of 10 mini bells, specifically cast and hung for full circle change ringing. Matthew Higby and the late Tom Chapman from Somerset installed them in June 1998. Originally installed in a bungalow at Hook, near Basingstoke, called Ambergate. The bells were hung between the trusses in the loft space above the garage and were rung from the garage. The “try out” of the completed installation was on 19th June 1998. The first quarter peal (Grandsire Caters) was rung on Sunday, 12th July 1998. The first peal (Grandsire Caters) was rung on Sunday, 1st November 1998. Because of the owners’ move to Worcester, they were dismantled in early December 2005 and taken by Matthew Higby for modification for use as a portable ring. The first public outing was the National 12 Bell Competition at Worcester Cathedral in 2006 when they were erected in the Chapter House. They have also been much used and greatly appreciated at every Hereford Ringing Course since 2007. In August 2009 they were featured at the Martley, Worcestershire, show and resulted in at least one new member for the local band. Full details can be found at

Mark Wilson and Robin Walker

The Willoughby Campanile

The Willoughby Campanile is one of a few fully portable campaniles in the world, demonstrating ‘English style’ full circle ringing. Whilst many people have listened to bells rung in church towers, few know about the mechanics of ‘full circle’ change ringing. Containing eight fully working bells together with their fixtures and fittings, the campanile illustrates the principles of ‘English style’ ringing, with bells controlled by rope and wheel. Cast in Loughborough in 1998, and weighing up to 63 pounds, the back six bells were tuned by Taylor’s Bell Master, Andrew Higson. In 2001, they were augmented to 8 by the addition of two new treble bells, cast by Hayward Mills Associates, and all the bells were then re-clappered. Further improvements since then include the fitting of ‘twiddle pins’ to improve the clappering, and re-shrouding the wheels to improve the roping. The Campanile has been widely travelled over the years, having been abroad to Holland many times, and to Regensburg, Germany. In the United Kingdom it has been used at many events, including weddings. The Campanile was used for the very first peal in Europe using full circle bells when on 28th/29th August 2003 a peal of Plain Bob Minor was rung at Dordrecht. In the band was Paul de Kok, and ultimately this helped to convince the authorities there that there was a future in this style of ringing. When not out on tour the Campanile now resides at the John Taylor Bellfoundry in Loughborough.

George Dawson

These two mini-rings will be available for Maximus and Royal Ticket holders to try in Dean’s Yard from 10am to 6pm on Saturday, 26th March – although there will be a break for the Abbey Evensong between 3pm and 4pm, during which there will be no ringing. The mini rings will be sited quite close to the Beer Tent.

BB BellBoard
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers