Bell Ringing Update

Guidance from the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR) now permits bell ringing again, subject to COVID-19 mitigation measures.

Ringing has started up again at all three towers:
St Peter’s: Sunday 9am and 10.30am, Friday 7pm
St Wilfrid’s: Sunday 9.30am, Wednesday 7.30pm
St Michael’s: Practice at 6.30pm on Monday.

Ringers are expected to follow any COVID-19 mitigation measures that are in place at the tower and church (including use of hand-gel and face masks)

Visitors who wish to ring with us (on Sundays or at practices) are advised to contact us in advance via this web site.

Please note that ringing times may be cancelled or moved at short notice, depending on the availability of ringers and/or the pandemic situation. Please check this website for updates and the calendar or contact us for further information.

Three is a magic number


So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. (From Quicunque Vult, commonly known as the Creed of St Athanasius)

The mystical number of the Trinity is all around us. We live in a three- dimensional world; it has breadth, depth and height. When I was a mathematics undergraduate, one of our lecturers explained why this was so. If we had only two dimensions then we would have at most, four interconnected brain cells, which would mean that we would not be intelligent enough to contemplate this question. On the other hand if we lived in a four-dimensional world then there would be no such thing as knots in strings; we would be very accident-prone because we wouldn’t be able to do up our shoelaces!

The Trinity is often represented by an equilateral triangle – a three-sided shape with sides of equal length. Indeed it is a very robust shape. For those of you who have Meccano sets, try constructing one out of girders and then do the same for a square or any shape with more sides. The triangle is the only shape, which cannot collapse!

A three-legged stool never wobbles, unlike a four-legged chair or table if standing on an unstable floor. The authority of the Church is grounded on the ‘tripod’ of Scripture, Tradition and Reason, as attributed to the 16th century theologian Richard Hooker; ignoring one of these authorities or introducing others can only place a destabilising influence on our faith.

The vessel of molten sea made by Hiram the bronze-worker for King Solomon (1 Kings 23:7) had a circumference three times its diameter. We now know the ratio between these dimensions as Pi, which is a very long number, although a little bit more than three! I don’t have space to write it down in full here, but to the first 30 decimal places it is 3.141592653589793238462643383279… There are in fact circumstances in which this ratio does not apply, though we would have to go back millions of years to the creation of the Universe to witness it; a topic coincidentally covered by my PhD thesis.

The number three appears throughout the scriptures. Abraham was visited by three angels (Genesis 8:1-15): an image often used to represent the Trinity in Eastern iconography. Then there are the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity (1 Cor 13:13). The Magi presented three gifts to our Lord, incarnate (Matt 2:1-12) … so truly three is a magic number!

Jonathan Wilson

Originally published in St Wilfrid’s Network Parish Magazine; June 2011

Happy Easter

We wish all readers of this website a very Happy Easter, even though not all of our bells are ringing at present. We hope to restart ringing as and when COVID-19 restrictions allow us to do so.

He is Risen Indeed!

If you miss the sound of bells then please do check out our bell recordings and even our videos!

If you also miss the familiar Easter hymn tunes, due to restrictions on congregational singing, then we have an Easter composition specifically for this time

Easter Hymn Sequence played on Change Ringing Engine

On Determining the Date of Easter

I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea (Exodus 15.1)

Easter has its roots in the Jewish Festival of Passover, an eight-day feast; which commemorates the journey of the Israelites, out of slavery in Egypt and to the Promised Land. We will hear this account (Exodus 14) at the Easter Vigil. In order to facilitate their remarkable escape across the Red Sea, they would no doubt have depended on the light of a full moon. They would have also needed to harvest barley to bake bread, the earliest possible opportunity being spring, of which they consumed in haste unleavened. Passover therefore was celebrated on the coming of the first full moon after the spring equinox (14th day of the month Nisan of the Hebrew calendar).

Easter Window, Chester Cathedral

The early Christians continued to use the Jewish method for determining the date of the Passover, placing the Crucifixion on the 15th day of Nisan (see John 19:14), meaning that Easter would not necessarily be celebrated on a Sunday!; however a diversity of local practice evolved with the evangelisation of the Gentiles.

The Council of Nicaea, A.D. 325 attempted to resolve this controversy, by ruling that Easter should be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox and the calculation would be carried out independently from the Hebrew calendar. Indeed it took centuries for calculations to converge; indeed Celtic Christians continued to follow their own method for determining Easter as late as the 7th Century and did not adopt the method used by the Latin Church until the Synod of Whitby in A.D. 664.

A further controversy occurred in 1582 when it was realised that the earth doesn’t quite take 365 1⁄4 days to orbit the sun as was previously assumed. Pope Gregory XIII therefore reformed the Julian calendar as a result by making the century years non-leap years (unless divisible by 400). Due to the political and religious turmoil at that time, the new calendar took many centuries to be accepted. Britain did not adopt the Gregorian Calendar until 1752 and even today the Eastern Orthodox Churches continue to use the original Julian Calendar.

When Great Britain finally adopted the Gregorian Calendar, the then Astronomer Royal, the Rev’d James Bradley simplified the tables produced in 1582 and his method is used to compile the tables in the Book of Common Prayer.

Calculating the date of Easter is rather complicated because calendars have to work in whole numbers of days and the number of days taken for the Earth to go round the Sun and for the Moon to go round the Earth most certainly are not! For those readers who enjoy playing around with numbers and are armed with a pocket calculator (or a knowledge of long division!) we present a simplified method of calculation.

  1. First determine the “Golden Number”. Divide the year by 19, take the remainder and then add one to it. The Golden number for this year (2021) is 8.
  2. Now multiply the Golden number by 11 (gives 88)
  3. Take this result away from 575* (gives 487)
  4. Divide it by 30 and take the remainder (gives 7). This remainder is the number of days that the first full moon occurs after March 21st (7 days).
  5. If the full moon is calculated to be 28 days after the spring equinox (and the a golden number greater than 11) or is 29 days after (regardless of the golden number), then the number of days is reduced by one. This year this adjustment is not applicable because the Pascal Full Moon is only 7 days after March 21st, so the Paschal Full Moon occurs on March 28th (Sunday)
  6. Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon – April 4th

This simplification is reliable for the remainder of this century (the number 575 in step 3 actually contains minor solar and lunar corrections which periodically need adjusting but not before then!). The calculations are shown in full on-line on

This article was written by Jonathan Wilson and was originally published in St Wilfrid’s parish magazine, Network, in April 2011. The steps in the calculation have been amended to bring it up to date!

Suspension of Bell Ringing Activities

Due to advice of HM Government to avoid unnecessary social contact during this phase of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, it is with much regret that we are having to suspend all bell ringing activities.

We will be keeping this web site active, in order to promote interest in bell ringing for when bells are to be heard in Harrogate again.

A statement on suspension of bell ringing activities from the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR) may be found here.

Please bear with us…