Wellington Combined Society of Bellringers


John David Ring



The John David Ring was bought from Matthew Higby & Co in 2015 by the Wellington Ringers. Donations towards the cost were made by many ringers, by the Australia and New Zealand Association of Bellringers (ANZAB), and by Wellington City Council. The bells were cast by Mark Prior and tuned and hung by Matthew Higby. The tenor weighs 9lb 10oz, with a note of F#.

The ring is named after two members of the Caldwell family, four generations of which have been ringers in New Zealand. David Caldwell was a ringer at St Matthew's, Auckland and Hamilton Cathedral. His son, John, learnt to ring. John died at a relatively young age. John's son, Andrew learnt to ring at Wellington Cathedral, becoming the fourth generation of Caldwells to ring.

Initially the Ring was a six. Each bell is named after a donor. The treble and tenor are named Gill and Gerald respectively, after Gill and Gerald McIlhone. The second is named Rei, after Rei Ngatai. The third is named Jarman, after Chris Jarman. The fourth is named Barrett, after Terry Barrett. Gerald, Rei, Chris and Terry are Wellington ringers. Rei is the first Maori to ring a peal. The fifth is named Pleasance, after Pleasance Purser, who was Ringing Master at the Cathedral for 25 years.

In December 2015 two additional bells were ordered from Matthew Higby to augment the Ring to an eight. Delivery was somewhat protracted and the Ring finally became an eight in September 2017. Generous donations made the augmentation possible, particularly one from Lian von Wantoch. Lian was an American diplomat based at the American Embassy in Wellington for a period. She is a ringer and and donated money for the bells as thanks for her ringing welcome in Wellington. The new second is named Harvey, after her father Harvey von Wantoch. The new treble is named Nathan, after the grandson of Derek and Mary Williams, who are Wellington ringers.

The mini ring is used for demonstrating and teaching ringing. It is regularly used for quarter peals (in 2018 and 2019 it was the leading tower in the world for number of quarter peals).