St. Andrew's Hornchurch Guild of Change Ringers

Welcome to the home of the Hornchurch Bell Ringers. Please take a look around to find out more about the art of bellringing and what the ringers get up to at St. Andrew's.

Learn to Ring

Learn to Ring

Interested in learning to ring church bells? All ages and welcome.

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The Bells

The Bells

St. Andrew's Church has 10 bells made from 1779 to 2014.

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The Church

The Church

On the exterior east end of the Church a bull's head that gives the town its name can be seen.

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Bell Ringers Striking Competition Success

On Saturday 10th June 2023, St Andrew’s bell ringers entered a team into the SW Essex Striking Competition heats at Dagenham.

We rang for about seven or eight minutes and were judged on the accuracy of our ringing.

We rang well and finished in 2nd place behind West Ham but ahead of Walthamstow, St Mary who came 3rd.

Congratulations to our band of ringers, who are shown in the photograph below.

Those taking part were (L-R in the photograph):

  1. Mark Lendon
  2. Julie Bloomfield
  3. Michelle Stephenson
  4. Ethan Musham
  5. Clive Stephenson
  6. James Riley


First Quarter Peal for James After Just One Year

Hornchurch bell ringer James Riley first expressed an interest in learning to ring in May 2022, just before the Platinum Jubilee of our late Queen.

He was directed to St Andrew’s tower and had his first introduction to bell handling on 31st May 2022.

He has attended regularly and made determined progress ever since. He now rings on Sunday mornings and was part of the team that rang for the Coronation of King Charles III.

Furthermore, on 31st May 2023, James rang his first quarter peal exactly one year since his first bell ringing lesson.

Although a bit nervous, James rang exceptionally well for 45 minutes to complete this fantastic achievement.

Well done James!

The quarter peal was a celebration of the wedding of fellow bell ringer Charles Page to Linda Hardwidge on 29th May 2023 at St Laurence Church in Upminster where James also attends.

Full details of the quarter peal are as follows:

Hornchurch, Essex

St Andrew

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

1260 Plain Bob Doubles

1 Mark E Lendon

2 John M Church

3 Philip Petchey

4 Hayden R Musham

5 Clive J Stephenson (C)

6 James P Riley

Rung to celebrate the wedding of Charles and Linda Page on 29th May.

First quarter for tenor ringer on the one year anniversary of his first bell ringing lesson.

The team of bell ringers with James far right and Charles and Linda Page in the front.

Bell Ringers’ Spring Coach Outing

On Saturday 13th May 2023, 46 bell ringers and friends set off from St Andrew’s to visit 5 different churches in Hertfordshire.

Most of the churches had eight bells, not too heavy and fairly easy to ring. This gave our young ringers, Carys, Ellen & Jamie a good opportunity to ring well whilst the more experienced ringers could ring some difficult methods without having to worry about the bells.

We visited Great Stanmore and Aldenham before our buffet lunch at Bushey Heath. After lunch, the bells improved and the ringing became more enjoyable, especially at Bushey and Langleybury.

Bushey was home to a ringer called Bertram Prewett who rang in a record peal of 9 hours at Hornchurch in 1912. He sadly lost his life in the First World War, but we were able to see many peal boards at Bushey with his name on.

Our final stop at Langleybury gave people an opportunity to walk along the canal before our evening meal at a pub with Harry Potter connections.

An enjoyable day with some good ringing, excellent food, and great company.

Ringers old and young at Bushey Heath

Angela and friends at Bushey Heath

Non-ringing friends at Stanmore

Celebrating the Coronation of King Charles III with Bells

As bell ringers our central body encouraged us to ‘Ring for the King’ and on Saturday 6th May 2023, that is exactly what we did.

At St Andrew’s at 10.00am, 25 bell ringers gathered to celebrate this momentous occasion. Most of the ringers present could not remember the last coronation in 1953 and none were old enough to have rung for it.

Taking it in turns, we rang St Andrew’s bells for a full hour leading up to the Coronation service at Westminster Abbey at 11am. Everybody had the opportunity to ring from ‘Rounds to Kings’ which on ten bells would be changing from 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 to 9,7,5,3,1,2,4,6,8,10; a very musical combination.

We ended with 70 changes of Grandsire Triples, marking the 70 years between the coronations of Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III.

The photograph below shows some of the ringers that took part in the morning ringing.

In the afternoon, a different team assembled to ring a full peal of Grandsire Caters on all 10 bells. The peal lasted for more than 3 hours and was a fitting way to celebrate the new King’s Coronation.

Full details are shown below along with a photograph of the ringers taking part.

Essex Association

Hornchurch, Essex

St Andrew

Saturday, 6 May 2023 in 3hr 5min

5003 Grandsire Caters

James George

1 Andrew P Barham

2 Matthew E Rayner

3 Dylan J Thomas

4 Marianne R Hayward

5 Simon M Barnes

6 Lucas J Owen

7 Kye L Leaver

8 Roderic K Bickerton

9 Clive J Stephenson (C)

10 Dave J Capewell

Rung following the Coronation of H M King Charles III and Queen Camilla at Westminster Abbey earlier this day.

First peal for 26 years – 10.

On Sunday 7th May, the bells were rung before both of our services with a Coronation theme.

In the evening, a quarter peal slightly earlier than usual allowed two of our bell ringing choristers (Ethan & Hayden Musham) to ring and sing for the Coronation Evensong; an outstanding contribution to the life of St Andrew’s.

Quarter peal details are as follows:

Hornchurch, Essex

St Andrew

Sunday, 7 May 2023

1260 Plain Bob Triples

1 Michelle A Stephenson

2 Julie A Bloomfield

3 Gavin S Carpenter

4 James Laken

5 Hayden R Musham

6 Anthony J Bloomfield

7 Clive J Stephenson (C)

8 Ethan J Musham

For Evensong celebrating the Coronation of H M King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

First inside on 8 – 5.

25th Quarter – 1.

Bell Ringing for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

2022 is the 70th anniversary of The Queen’s accession to the throne in 1952.

For the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, as many St Andrew’s bell ringers as possible chose to ring on Coronation Day which was Thursday 2nd June 2022.

Starting in rounds (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8), bells were quickly swapped over to produce a change known as ‘Queen’s’.

This change was repeated exactly 70 times to mark each year of The Queen’s long reign.

The ‘Queen’s’ change is the odd bells followed by the even bells (1,3,5,7,2,4,6,8). It is a musical change said to have been given it’s name after Queen Elizabeth I overheard this series of changes and commented how much she liked it.

The bell ringers who took part were:

Tony AmmerlaanJane HarperClive Stephenson
Adam CarpenterAngela HarveyJohn Stephenson
Gavin CarpenterMark Lendon   Margaret Waller
Eileen DrewChris PainLisa Wilson
Tina GornallPauline Murray  Lionel Woods

A video recording of some of the ringing can be found on YouTube: 

On the following day, Friday 3rd June, a full peal was organised on the ten bells of St Andrew’s.

We started at 10am and rang for 3 hours and 16 minutes to coincide with the Service of Thanksgiving held at St Paul’s at 11.30am.

Congratulations to Hayden Musham one of our young bell ringers who rang the tenor to his first peal for this occasion.

Full details of the peal are as follows:

Essex Association

Hornchurch, Essex

St Andrew

Friday, 3 June 2022 in 3h 16

5039 Grandsire Caters

George F Williams

1 Anthony J Bloomfield

2 Matthew E Rayner

3 Oliver H J Thompson

4 Helen J Carter

5 Jonathan C Mills

6 William J Stungo

7 Stephen A Waters

8 Andrew P Barham

9 Clive J Stephenson (C)

10 Hayden R Musham

Rung to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II, our longest reigning monarch; 70 years since her accession.

First peal – 10.


Our thanks go to Derek Stanbridge who sponsored our peal to the tune of £110, donated to St Andrew’s.

A recording of the last few minutes of the peal can be found on YouTube:  

Finally, as part of our church’s Jubilee celebrations, on Sunday 5th June, a quarter peal was rung prior to Choral Evensong:

Hornchurch, Essex

St Andrew

Sunday, 5 June 2022

1260 Plain Bob Minor

1 Lionel S Woods

2 Michelle A Stephenson

3 Christopher C M Pain

4 John M Church

5 Gavin S Carpenter

6 Clive J Stephenson (C)

For Choral Evensong celebrating the Platinum Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II.


First and second – Bell Ringers perform ‘Queen’s’ for the Jubilee
The Peal Band outside St Andrew’s

Bell Ringers Celebrate St Andrew’s Oldest Peal Board

St Andrew’s had five bells in 1552. These were recast into six bells in 1779 by the famous Whitechapel foundry (which sadly closed in 2017). Two more bells were added in 1901 to greet the 20th Century and another two in 2001 to give Hornchurch a 10-bell peal.

There are a number of peal boards on display in our ringing room which reflect various performances on 6, 8 and 10 bells over the centuries.

The oldest peal board is dated 17th March 1822, 200 years ago, when Hornchurch had 6 bells. It commemorates a ‘true and compleat peal’ of a method called Oxford Treble Bob Minor.

Today, a peal is recognised as 5000 changes or more which takes about 3 hours. In 1822, we think a ‘peal’ was 720 changes which is the maximum number of changes possible on 6 bells without repetition.

This would have taken about 30 minutes and was still a remarkable achievement of its time when change ringing was still in its infancy.

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of this oldest ‘peal’, our current team of bell ringers recently repeated the performance of 1822 on virtually the same six bells (not quite because the fifth of the six was replaced in 2014 due to a crack).

A record of the original performance and the 200th anniversary performance are shown below:

1822 performance

2022 performance:

Hornchurch, Essex

St Andrew

Sunday, 24 April 2022

720 Oxford Treble Bob Minor

1 Julie A Bloomfield

2 William Beech

3 Christopher C M Pain

4 Anthony J Bloomfield

5 Jonathan R Slack

6 Clive J Stephenson (C)

Rung on the back 6 to mark the 200th anniversary of the oldest performance that we know about on the original 6 bells on 17th March 1822 in the same method.

Five of the original six bells of 1779 remain; the 5th of the 6 having been replaced in 2014 due to a crack.

Our ringing chamber has many interesting peal boards including a famous peal of Bristol Surprise Major in 1912. It took more than nine hours of ringing to complete and was a record of its time.

One of the ringers (Bertrum Prewett from Bushy) who lost his life in WWI, had the ringing room in Ypres Church recently named after him in 2018.

If anyone would like to view the peal boards in our ringing room, please ask one of the bell ringers to show you around.

Clive Stephenson

Hornchurch Ringers ring in 2022

After not occurring at the end of 2020 due to the suspension of in-person services because of Covid-19, the band resumed its annual tradition of ringing in the new year.

This involves a short ringing session in the chamber with open ringing before “diminishing rounds” that started at nine minutes to midnight. In the latter, all ten bells start off and one stops every minute until midnight, where the tenor chimes twelve times (this year done by Gavin Carpenter) before the entire band rings for a few minutes to accompany the fireworks.

Afterwards, refreshments were provided as usual and we wished each other a Happy New Year.

Bell Ringing for VJ Day 75

St Andrew’s bell ringers were disappointed not to be able to ring for VE Day back in May when the pandemic was still at its peak.

However, with the recent easing of restrictions, some bell ringing has resumed at Hornchurch and we were able to mark the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day on 15th August 2020, accordingly.

After observing the 2 minute silence at 11am, alternate bells were rung for 15 minutes at a time to commemorate victory over Japan at the end of World War II.

Current guidelines require bell ringing to last no more than 15 minutes with participants having to wear face coverings and keep socially distanced.

Full details of the ringing is as follows:

Hornchurch, Essex

St Andrew

Saturday, 15 August 2020 (15 mins)

Rounds and Call Changes

1. Margaret Waller

3. Paul Stanley

5. Valerie A Swain

7. Ray E Rogers

9. Clive J Stephenson (C)

Rung to mark the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day immediately following the 2 minute silence at 11am.

Followed by:

Hornchurch, Essex

St Andrew

Saturday, 15 August 2020 (15 mins)

Rounds and Call Changes

2. John W Stephenson

4. Michelle A Stephenson

6. Helen J Carter

8. Joseph Hurley

10. Gavin S Carpenter (C)

Rung to mark the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day

Hand Bells for John Stephenson’s 90th Birthday

Bell ringer John Stephenson celebrated his 90th birthday on 6th December 2020.

With current guidelines preventing tower bell ringing, his family organised some hand bell ringing at his home in Romford.

By ringing 2 bells each, Clive and Michelle Stephenson managed a quarter peal of Plain Bob Minimus, with John counting the changes.

Here are full details of the ringing and some photos of the occasion:

Romford, (99, Pettits Lane)

Sunday, 6 December 2020 in 37mins

1272 Plain Bob Minimus

1–2 Michelle A Stephenson

3–4 Clive J Stephenson (C)

Rung to celebrate the 90th birthday of John Stephenson on this day with best wishes from family and friends.

John with successful hand bell ringers
John with wife Blanche and son Clive