Glasgow bells ring again after 50 years

The bells of St Aloysius Church in Glasgow have been rung for the first time in almost 50 years. The extraordinary campanological event was to mark the opening of the Commonwealth Games in the city. All of the churches in Glasgow had been asked to ring their bells at 2014hrs (8.14pm) on Wednesday 22 July to mark the opening of the ‘Friendly’ Games.  

“This was a challenge for us as our bells were last rung in the 1960s,” says parish priest Fr Tim Curtis SJ. “However, after a health and safety check, it was deemed that we could go ahead.”

Earlier this year, campanologist John Greenhough discovered that St Aloysius’ two bells were part of a set of eight provided in 1865 for St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh. In 1890, they were sold for a total of £20 to the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Mary in the same city. An attempt was then made to raise funds to build a tower. Tradition has it that the bells stood upturned as collection vessels for many years but they were eventually donated to other churches.

“We were the first Roman Catholic Church in Glasgow to have a bell tower,” says Fr Curtis. “John thinks it most likely that it contains the only known survivors of this set, donated by St Mary's to St Aloysius around 1910.” He adds that the bells rang out “splendidly” on Wednesday and those who heard them have commented favourably on the quality of their sound:   "As good as the day they were cast".

St Aloysius Church's leaflet for the Commonwealth Games 2014 is available here.  commonwealth flyer final english.pdf

Photo credit: croarty / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)