image of St Peter's Cathedral, Hamilton

Hamilton Celebrates 70 years of Change Ringing in the City

Towards the end of 2019 the bellringers in Hamilton, New Zealand, realised a significant milestone for their bells would occur in 2020, and a peal to mark this was suggested and then discussions turned to what method shall we ring. St Peter Bob Triples was mooted – and then COVID-19 arrived on the scene.

With a country in lockdown, we could see that being able to ring a peal may not be possible. We did not know how long the restrictions would continue. We came out of lockdown and began ringing again, but travel was still restricted and we would need some assistance if we were to ring all eight bells. When restrictions were lifted further and internal travel was permitted a peal attempt became more of a possibility.

I went to book the Cathedral, and found a special tour of the Cathedral was planned that day. Fortunately the person leading the tour is a great fan of the bells and was quite happy for us to be ringing while he was explaining the Cathedral’s history to those on the tour. The Cathedral was booked and the peal was becoming a possibility.

A band was decided on, and then tighter restrictions returned, and one of the band was isolated in Auckland, unable to ring in his home tower, let alone being able to travel to ring at Hamilton. Thankfully the sanctions were lifted but we were all on tenderhooks with cases of COVID-19 still occurring amongst those in compulsory isolation.

At the beginning of October the North Island Cluster gathered in Hamilton for ringing on the mini-ring and the Hamilton ringers in the group were beginning think –we can do this. However, a practice of St Peter Bob Triples showed that we would not be able to ring it to a peal. Heads were put together and it was decided to ring Grandsire Triples.

Saturday morning, 17th October 2020, saw eight ringers gather and, after 2 hours and 49 minutes of ringing, the bells came into rounds. We were successful!

Hamilton peal band, 17 October 2020

Wendy Tyrrell, Richard Layton, Mary Sluter, Michael Stone, Frank Sluter (C), Karen Layton, John Barnard, Gerald McIlone

Australian and New Zealand Association
Hamilton, New Zealand

Waikato Cathedral Church of St Peter
Saturday, 17 October 2020 in 2h 49 (20–2–6 in E)
5040 Grandsire Triples
1  Richard Layton
2  P Gerald McIlhone
3  Michael J Stone
4  Karen L Layton
5  Wendy J Tyrrell
6  I Mary Sluter
7  Frank Sluter (C)
8  John Barnard
Rung for the 70th anniversary of the installation of the bells.
1st Peal - 8

Wendy Tyrrell

Ringing during a pandemic

Ringing was suspended on 23rd March 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Our ability to ring came back in stages as the government lifted the restriction on meeting. The handbell ringers began on 14th May with the mini-ring the following Wednesday (20th May). Tower bell ringing began on 31st May after further lifting of meeting restrictions and the completion of rebushing the clappers. A maintenance task we were going to stagger over the rest of the year was carried out in one hit once the firm helping us was able to be open for business. The photos are from our practice night on 17th June.

ringers ringing   ringers ringing

Practice night 17 June 2020. Left image, clockwise from the unused rope, Wendy Tyrrell, Bob Jones, Daniel Watson, Richard Layton, Frank Sluter, Mary Sluter, Sue Allen. Right image from left to right, Sue Allen, Bob Jones, Mary Sluter, Wendy Tyrrell.

Wendy Tyrell
30 June 2020

Hamilton "all local" and four "firsts" Peal

On Christmas Day 25th December 1814, at Oihi Beach in the Bay of Islands, Christianity came to New Zealand as Samuel Marsden preached there for the first time. The Hamilton ringers felt this bicentenary deserved marking in some special way, so decided to attempt a peal.

Saturday morning, 17th January 2015, saw eight ringers gather to attempt this, despite four of them never having rung a peal before and the remaining four not having rung a peal for many years. In view of the temperature we were very grateful for the air conditioning in the ringing room!

Hamilton peal band 17 January 2015

The band: Frank Sluter, David Sluter, Richard Langdon, Karen Sluter, Wendy Tyrrell, Mary Sluter, David Kennett, Ellen Barnard

After 2 hours and 57 minutes ringing, we were successful and the peal of Grandsire Triples was completed. This is the first peal on eight by an all local band. A great achievement for the band!

Frank Sluter

This page supplements the ANZAB Tower Directory, and records further information about the tower, its bells and ringers.

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