Harrogate Rings Out for the Coronation of King Charles III

The Coronation weekend began with a Festival Mass at St Wilfrid’s on Friday evening, for which we rang before. The band consisted of Mike Woodhall, Jonathan Wilson, Shirley Morris, Mick Foster, Beth Pettifer, Andy Griffiths, Anne McGinley, Andrew Ellis and Jessica Wood. Mick, Beth, Andy and Anne had learned to ring for the Coronation. The five minute service bell was rang by Dillan Foster.

On the Coronation day (Saturday 6th May), the bells of St Wilfrid’s, St Peter’s, Beckwithshaw and Birstwith were rung. This is the first time that bells of St Peter’s and St Wilfrid’s were rung for a coronation, because the bells did not arrive until 1963 and 1973 respectively. The only church in Harrogate to previously ring for a coronation would have been the original St Mary’s in 1902 for Edward VII, shortly after which it was demolished and replaced by a new church where the bells were hung for chiming only.

The bells of St Wilfrid’s were rang before the Coronation service. The band included Mike Woodhall, Shirley Morris, Andy Griffiths, Sally McDonagh, Bethany McDonagh, Anne McGinley, Jonathan Wilson, Heather Kennedy, Andrew Ellis, Beth Pettifer, Jessica Wood and Mick Foster.

The Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey was shown live at St Peter’s, after which the bells of St Peter’s were rung. The ringers were: Hannah Beck, Penny Bell, Andy Guthrie, Coralie Thornton, Jessica Wood, Heather Kennedy, Gary Andrews, Fiona Weare, Jonathan Wilson, Philip Crawshaw, Monica Strawn, Michelle Anderson, Chris Davies, Veronica Ace and Peter Anderson.

The bells were then rung down and some of the children (all aged 4 to 9) tried their hand in chiming the bells

In the afternoon, we rang at St Michael’s Beckwithshaw. The band were Jon Bryant, Raymond Darwent, Hannah Beck, Jane Mayfield, George Mayfield, Jessica Wood, Alistair Adams, John Craven, Beth Pettifer, Heather Kennedy, Jonathan Wilson, Andrew Ellis. Jane, George, John and Alistair have been learning to ring for the coronation.

The day finished at Birstwith with Hannah Beck, Heather Kennedy, Jessica Wood, Raymond Darwent and Jonathan Wilson making up the band. The ringing included Plain Hunt on 5 bells and also calling rounds straight into Queens (24135), Kings (42135) and Weasels (14235) as is the local custom.

Harrogate towers have traditionally helped each other in all major ringing, and also any local tower which is short of ringers. With Jessica, Heather and Jonathan having rung at all four towers have indeed scored a “Royal Flush”!

On Monday 8th May was Big Help Out day. two touches of Plain Bob Doubles were rung at St Peter’s. This is the first time touches have been rung since the COVID pandemic, as we have prioritised teaching new learners. A Touch of 720 was rang by the following band: (1) Jessica Wood, (2) Jonathan Wilson, (3) Michelle Anderson, (4) Gary Andrews, (5) Hannah Beck (C), (6) Andy Guthrie. The second touch of 360 was rang by the following band: (1) Michelle Anderson, (2) Jonathan Wilson, (3) Gary Andrews, (4) Andy Guthrie, (5) Hannah Beck, (6) Chris Davies.

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