December 2023 – Before planning your visit, please check our ‘Visitor Notices’ for accessibility updates and one-off changes to opening times. Click here to view.
A BEACON OF LIGHT
Newcastle Cathedral has a long tradition of bell-ringing, going back hundreds of years. The iconic Lantern Tower had bells in it as early as the fifteenth century.
The oldest bell was cast between 1385 and 1418 and is called Michael. It is the bell rung out for all occasions of national mourning or rejoicing. The Lantern Tower, with its incredible and intricate design, was the tallest landmark in the town for centuries and was designed to be a beacon for ships coming up the Tyne.
By the middle of the eighteenth century, the renowned local historian Henry Bourne said the bells “have a bold and noble sound, and yet an exceedingly sweet and harmonious one.” There are 14 full circle ringing bells, plus the ‘Major’, which is a swing chiming bell weighing nearly 6 tonnes!
Today, the bells at Newcastle are rung by the Newcastle Guild, members of the Durham and Newcastle Diocesan Association of Change Ringers. They are all volunteers and range in age from 20s to 93 – the 100+ steps to the bell ringing chamber keeps them fit. Newcastle Cathedral’s bells are some of the finest in the country and we have hosted many bell ringing groups from all over the country.
Bell ringing occurs every Sunday throughout the year at the following times:
9-10am for Morning Eucharist
There is also occasional ringing for Choral Evensong on Saturdays and Sundays
Occasionally these times are subject to change, depending on the liturgical calendar and, for example, whether any special events or wedding bookings request bell ringing. Newcastle Cathedral will always endeavour to publish any changes as soon as possible.
Additionally, bell ringing practice occurs every Tuesday evening throughout the year from 7:30-9pm. On the third Tuesday of the month, the practice is from 7-9pm. There is no bell ringing practice in Holy Week.
2023 Cathedral special ringing
Please note that, due to unforeseen factors, bell ringing may not always occur on these planned dates.
|Date||Time||Reason for ringing|
|Friday 13 January||6:30pm – 7:45pm||Quarter Peal Weekend|
|Saturday 14 January||2:45pm – 4pm|
5pm – 6:45pm
|Quarter Peal Weekend|
|Sunday 15 January||8:45am – 10am||Quarter Peal Weekend|
|Saturday 11 February||11am – 3pm||Peal for Newcastle Guild Annual Dinner|
|Monday 13 March||10:30am – 12pm||Quarter Peal for Commonwealth Day|
|Sunday 23 April||2:45pm – 4pm||Quarter Peal for St George’s Day|
|Saturday 6 May||12pm – 4pm||Peal for The Coronation of His Majesty The King|
|Saturday 10 June||12pm – 4pm||Peal by ringers from Peterborough Cathedral|
|Friday 8 September||10:30am – 12pm||Quarter Peal for the Accession of His Majesty The King|
|Saturday 16 September||12pm – 4pm||Peal by The Ancient Society of College Youths|
|Tuesday 14 November||10:30am – 12pm||Quarter Peal for His Majesty The King’s Birthday|
|Saturday 18 November||12pm – 4pm||Peal by The Society of Royal Cumberland Youths|
|Wednesday 6 December||10:30am – 12pm||Peal for the Feast Day of St Nicholas|
|Saturday 9 December||12pm – 4pm||Peal for the Patronal Festival of St Nicholas|
All weekday ringing will start at 10:30am unless there is a special service, in which case ringing will most likely take place an hour before the service.