The original ring of (then three) bells were New Zealand’s first full-circle bells and were rung for the first time on 31 March 1867. In 1964 they were stored in the incomplete tower of the new Wellington Cathedral and later melted down to become part of the newer set of 14 bells that we ring at the Cathedral now. The bells we ring at Old St Paul's today, are a light ring of five bells cast by Whitechapel Foundry (tenor 4cwts), the result of a major campaign and fundraising effort by the Friends of Old St Paul’s in the 1970’s to restore bells to the historic building’s tower. These were first rung on 27 October 1979.
It is a ground floor ring. There is no regular practice at Old St Paul's. We try and arrange for visitors to the Cathedral to ring at Old St Paul's, if they are visiting on a Sunday. We ring here for a number of weddings each year, most of which take place in the summer.
Old St Paul's was closed for earthquake strengthening during 2019 and 2020. Wellington Ringers had the pleasure of welcoming back our Old St Paul’s bells at the formal opening of the historic building following the earthquake strengthening on Tuesday 28th July 2020.
An informative history of the OSP bells can be found here.
See rounds and call changes being rung for a wedding. Wait a few seconds for file to download. (credit: Dylan Thomas)
Hear rounds and call changes being rung. (credit: Dylan Thomas)
The Wellington Combined Society of bellringers is not responsible for this ring.
There is a ring of 8 bells, cast in 1879 by John Warner & Sons, installed at St Peter's (see Dove's Guide for details). They are chimed only; full circle ringing is not possible. More history of the bells can be found on St Peter's web site. A restoration proposal is being pursued to get four of the bells ringing.