Bell Tower Open Day
Saturday 22nd April 2017: 10.30am - 5.00pm
Bell Tower at Chichester Cathedral
Have you ever thought about being a bell ringer? If so, this special day offers a rare opportunity to see inside Chichester Cathedral's medieval Bell Tower, normally closed to the public. Enjoy guided tours of the Ringing Room, demonstrations by our experienced ringers, see the bells ringing via CCTV and try the Bell Meadow Belfry Mini Ring.
Chichester Cathedral is unusual among English cathedrals because the bells are not in a belfry above the church, but in a separate tower or campanile. The earliest reference to the bells being rung at Chichester is in 1232.
The present bell tower was built in the late 14th century or early 15th century. It is 107 feet high and 43 feet square at the base, and the walls are just over 8 feet thick. Its upper levels include the Ringing Room, which also contains the clock mechanism. Here there is also an impressive collection of framed engravings of cathedrals, churches and clergy, and records of peals of 5,040 or more changes rung at various times from this belfry. None of the original bells have survived, however, the oldest was cast in 1583 and the treble and second were cast in 1729.
The upper levels are accessed via a narrow steep spiral staircase at least twice a week when the bells are rung. For Health & Safety reasons visits to the ringing room are restricted to people aged between 10 and 79 years. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Visitors must be fit and healthy and wear suitable clothing/footwear. For safety reasons, Chichester Cathedral reserves the right to refuse entry.
Places are limited, to avoid disappointment visitors are advised to head straight to the Bell Tower on arrival to book a slot.