Wigan ringing in centenary of world war’s end

The parish church campanologists
The parish church campanologists

Church bells across Wigan borough will hail the centenary of World War One’s end today.


Peals will ring out at 12.30pm - and again in the evening - to echo the aural celebrations that took place on November 11 1918.

It will be difficult to replicate the joyous musical din which will have assailed the ears 100 years ago because there are fewer churches than there used to be and fewer still that actually have a working peal of bells.

But those that do are already in rehearsal for the big day, no more so than at Wigan Parish Church where bellringing captain Barry Hale is training them up for this very special carillon of 11 full chimes and 10 half-muffled ones which will sound out simultaneously with other churches.

It will be preceeded by the normal Remembrance Sunday commemorations around the borough, including parades, church services, cenotaph ceremonies and Last Posts.

Barry said: “It should sound spectacular. There are not as many churches with bellringers these days - or bells for that matter - but there should be peals from Standish, Hindley, Up Holland, Parbold, Leigh, Westhoughton. Coppull and Winwick in these parts.

“Some will be ringing in the evening though when there is another slot. Hindley St Peter’s for instance is one of those. And St Thomas and St James’s in Poolstock couldn’t get a team together so we are going to go over and ring those bells after we’ve finished at the parish church.”

Barry pointed out that Wigan Parish Church always rings its bells on Remembrance Sunday although not everyone appears to realise this. He says the peals are in the English style which means they go full circle, rather than just swung back and forth as happens abroad.

They ring the bells in order and then change the sequence by slowing some rings and speeding up without clipping or clashing.