THE BELLS OF BRIERLEY HILL
Brierly Hill, Dudley. UK
Brierley Hill resident Tim Sunter took up bellringing in 2014 after seeing a tweet saying that the bells of St Michael’s didn’t ring anymore. In 2017,
Tim and his wife Jenny were handed the keys to St Michael’s Church tower so the bells, which supposedly weigh the equivalent of 3 Mini cars, could ring out over the town again.
The Grade II listed St Michael’s Church in Brierley Hill, near Dudley in the West Midlands, was built in 1765, with several alterations during the 1800s. In 1900 the bell tower was returned to its original 18th century style. The church bells would originally have called local parishioners to service at the Anglican church.
The band now has volunteer ringers aged 9 to 75, who ring the bells at practice on Friday evenings and before church services on Sundays. One of the challenges was how to get new ringers trained without disturbing the church’s neighbours. As part of the Brierley Hill High Street Heritage Action Zone, a £1,500 grant has been awarded to St Michael’s Church's bell ringers to buy equipment that allows them to practice in silence and as individuals outside of group gatherings.