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Twelve Bells . . . and Then Some

by Madeleine Cheesman


The ringers of St. James Cathedral, Toronto invited ringers to join them to celebrate twelve bells . . . and then some over the weekend of June 27 to 29, 2014. Approximately forty ringers, both local and visitors converged at varying times in the tower of St. James Cathedral to ring the 21 cwt. 12 to a wide range of methods from rounds and call changes, plain hunt, Plain Bob Royal, Cinques and Maximus, right up to attempts at Cambridge Royal and Bristol Major. The newest addition to Toronto’s ringing scene is The Smoke Ring, a mini-ring cast last year by Matthew Higby’s company, and normally residing in the garage of one of our ringers. However, for the weekend, and with the Cathedral’s permission, it was moved into the south-west porch of the Cathedral, cordoned off for safety, but available for all visitors and parishioners to view.

Our ringing guests hailed from Charleston, New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Brewster, Montreal, the UK, and perhaps other locales also. We welcomed many on Friday afternoon with some ringing, and a cocktail reception in the Snell Hall of the newly renovated Cathedral Centre. With a selection of beer and wine, together with a wide variety of finger-food, the noise level escalated exponentially.

Ringing continued all day Saturday, with quarter peals scored on the tower bells of Stedman Cinques and Plain Bob Maximus, which included firsts for some ringers. The mini-ring garnered significant attention from both ringers and Cathedral visitors. Three quarters were attempted but none scored. As well, a number of ringers worked on their handbell ringing skills and they too attempted a quarter which did not succeed.

One of the highlights of the weekend was the Saturday evening BBQ hosted by the Cathedral’s Dean, the Very Reverend Douglas Stoute and his wife, Mary Lou Benotto at their lovely home a short distance from the Cathedral. With the excellent food and beverage provided, all the ringers and partners enjoyed an excellent evening. Attempts to swim in the pool by Nya and Keegan Hinton-Gamache were swiftly curtailed by Michael promptly retrieving them, unfortunately spilling his beer in the process !

Ringing continued on Sunday with service ringing and afterward with both general ringing and a quarter peal attempt.

The St. James Cathedral ringers thank all the visitors for coming, some from very significant distances, and one who made it rather later than she wanted, and in spite of her airline concerted effort to thwart the journey. A big “thank you” to the organizers, Olivia Gamache, Eric Wolever, Judith Hunt, Jenny Callaghan, and Michael Hinton. Thanks also to the Cathedral clergy and parishioners for their continued support.

Posted Jul 01, 2014


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