Rochester Cathedral

Company of Bell Ringers


 Founded 1904

Welcome to 12 in 21

`Why do the bells need improving?

The bells themselves do not need improving as bells can last for hundreds of years. The Cathedral bells were cast in 1921 and were hung in their current frame in 1960. However, when this work was carried out, it resulted in a very large rope circle in the ringing chamber so the way in which the ropes fall means that it is not easy to see every other ringer from each bell rope.

4th, 5th and 6th

We want to improve this circle to make the sighting better. We also want to ensure that the bells are no longer oddstruck, in other words they are sounding either slightly earlier or slightly later than they ought to. This makes it difficult for less experienced bell ringers to get their bell to sound at exactly the right moment. Another issue we want to deal with is the fact that the sound of some of the bells dominate over the others when all the bells are ringing making the overall sound unbalanced.

Some of the fittings are also getting worn out. The ropes we pull on to ring the bells run through pulleys which are showing signs of wear. The wheels which the ropes attach to are also showing signs of damage caused by aging.

damaged wheel wheel sizes

Finally, we would like to improve the environment in the Ringing Chamber. This room, in the tower below the level of the bells, is where the ringers actually ring the bells from.  The lighting in this room is not very good, and it also has very dated carpet tiles which are in need of replacing.

ringing chamber carpet

Isn’t 10 bells enough?

One of our aims is to become a centre for ringing excellence in North Kent and across the Diocese of Rochester. To help further this, we want to augment the number of bells in the tower by adding 2 more bells to create a ring of 12 bells in D major. Being able to ring on 12 bells is regarded as the ultimate aim for all ringers and we would provide the Diocese of Rochester with its first ring of 12 church bells.

We also want to create a lighter octave to practise on.   This will make it easier to train ringers with the bells either sounding as normal or being linked to a ringing simulator for silent practice. To do this, we want to get a third new bell which will enable us to ‘change key’ and ring a lighter set of 8 bells in the key of A major. 

 How much will it cost?

In order to achieve these aims and help to establish Rochester Cathedral as one of the foremost ringing centres in Kent we will need to raise £100000. This will not only improve the way that the current bells ring, but also provide North Kent and the Diocese of Rochester with its first ring of 12 church bells and provide a legacy for teaching and furthering the art of bellringing at Rochester Cathedral.

Examples of what a donation may provide:

£12,000 Maximus sponsor"
A new bell and associated fittings (subject to availability) with an inscription acknowledging the gift of the sponsor
£10,000 Royal sponsor” 

% A new bell (subject to availability) with an inscription acknowledging the gift of the sponsor

£  8,000 Major sponsor”
Employing a professional bell-hanger to carry out the  necessary work with a plaque in the Ringing Chamber acknowledging the gift of the sponsor
£ 2,000 Platinum donor” 

% Replacement headstocks (subject to availability)

%  Frame improvements and painting

% Providing the fittings necessary to hang a bell (subject to availability) 

£  1,000      Gold donor” 

% New ropes

%  Improved lighting in the Ringing Chamber

£     500 Silver donor”

% Replacement clapper to improve overall sound balance

% Replacement pulley box

% Repairs to bearings

£     250

£     200

£     150

£     100

£       50

Donor”   % Greatly valued contributions towards any of the above  and additional hidden costs, e.g. transport, scaffolding, lifting gear, accommodation for bell hangers...

We do hope you may wish to make a contribution. Every donation, however small, will help towards us to attain our target of £100,000.

You can make a contribution by visiting our Just Giving page:

You can also send your donations to:-

Rochester Cathedral Bells Centenary Project
Garth House


Cheques should be payable, please, to “Rochester Cathedral” with “Bells Fund” written clearly on the back of the cheque.


If you would like to find out more or have any questions about the project, please contact us.