St Michael and All Angels, Ashton-Under-Lyne
Bellringers Peal Records
A Brief History of the Bells.
A very old entry in the Ashton records states that in 1552: "In the steple four belles with a little bell brokyn - and 6 hand-belles", although other records contradict this.
There is certainly a record of 4 bells hung in the tower in 1552 with a further two being added in 1679.
In 1750 a Vestry meeting agreed that the 6 bells should be taken down and re-cast with extra metal so as to make them a "Compleat Ring of Six Bells".
The bells were again replaced by a 19cwt ring of eight in 1779 and these were opened on 6th November, 1779. A peal of Grandsire Triples rung on Thursday 8th August, 1782 is believed to be the first peal rung in the County of Lancashire.
Two trebles were added in 1790 to give a 19cwt ring of ten. As mentioned elsewhere, the tower was damaged by lightning in 1791, but it was repaired and peal ringing continued from 1808 until 1812. The third tower was built in 1817/18 and the bells re-modelled to form a 27-3-0 cwt ring of 10.
By 1881 the tower had become considerably weakened and again had to be demolished. The fourth and present tower was built in 1888/89 when two trebles were added and cannons removed from the existing bells making the current ring of 12 tenor 25-2-25 in D. The thirteenth bell was added in 1927/28 when the bells were last re-hung.
Further details can be found on the front page feature in "The Ringing World" for 23rd November 1979.
A chantry-chapel bell thought to have been cast in 14th Century was originally present in the church and this is now thought to be the bell hanging over the entrance to the Great Hall at Hoghton Tower between Blackburn and Preston.