Short history

The Bells

The bells of Derby Cathedral are the oldest ring of ten bells in the world. Most of them have been here since 1678 when the number of bells was increased from 6 to 10. The largest bell weighs 19 cwt. (965 kg), its note is D-Flat and it is nearly 500 years old. It is believed that it came from Dale Abbey at the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The youngest bell, No. 3, is dated 1693, so all the bells are over 300 years old. Bell no. 8 was in Ashbourne Parish church until 1815.

The bells used to hang in a wooden frame. When this church became a Cathedral in 1927 the bells were retuned and ruhung at a lower level in a new metal frame.

The Tower

The present tower replaced the older medieval one which either fell down or was demolished. It took 20 years to build and was finished in 1530.

The tower is the oldest part of the Cathedral as the rest of the church was demolished and rebuilt 1723 – 1725.

The height of the tower is 212 feet (65 metres) to the top of the pinnacles. There are 82 steps to the ringing chamber and 189 steps to the top.

The bells can been seen through a window from the spiral stairs that lead to the roof. You can also see grey patches in the walls where the floor used to be in days gone by.

The outside of the tower is currently home to some of the most famous residents in Derby – the Peregrine Falcons - who have lived here since 2006. After the installation of a webcam, 1000's of people have heard the bells ringing whilst watching the birds. View their blog.



Excerpt from Pat's book to follow.


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