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: https://youtu.be/jYAh358BgWw  

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.