The Cathedral Church of Saint Mary the Virgin
The west tower of Blackburn Cathedral holds a well-toned peal of ten bells cast in 1949 by John Taylor and Co of Loughborough. The tenor bell weighs 25 – 1 – 14 (just under 1.3 metric tonne) and the peal is tuned to the key of D major.
There have been bells on the site since at least 1552. It is documented that the Vicar and church wardens paid the sum of £26 12 shillings and 1 penny to the Royal Commission for the purchase of five bells for the old parish church of St Mary. Those bells were in use until circa 1690. In 1737 the metal from the five bells was melted down and used to make a ring of six bells. In 1832 those six bells were moved from the old parish church, demolished circa 1820, into the tower of the new Parish Church, designed by John Palmer and consecrated in 1826. Four extra bells were added around 1852 to make a ring of ten with the tenor weighing 15 cwt.
The Parish Church was raised to a Cathedral in 1926, when the Dioceses of Blackburn was created. In 1949 the ten bells were melted down and the metal, with added metal, was used to make the current ring of ten bells which are still in use today.
About The Bells
Dedication: Cathedral Church of Saint Mary the Virgin
Bells: 10 bells. Tenor 25-1-14 (1.3 tonne) in D
Association: Lancashire Association / Blackburn Branch
Practice Night: Thursday 8pm to 9.30pm
Sunday Ringing: 09.50am to 10.30am
Address: Darwen Street, Blackburn. BB1 5AA
Contact us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Blackburns10bells
Peals On The Bells
The Dean and Chapter encourage peals being rung on the bells and we always welcome enquiries. There is no fee for quarter peals and for a peal attempt there is a standard fee of £5 a rope. If you would like to book the bells then please let us know.
Most peals are rung on a Wednesday evening (with a 6pm start) and Sunday afternoons finishing with the bells rung down for the 4pm service.
How To Find The Cathedral
Recent changes (November 2015) in the one way system at the top end of Mincing Lane now require cars to turn left into King Street and then immediately right (Barton Street) and right again (Cardwell Place) to access Darwen Street via Astley Gate. If you are approaching from the west, Bank Top, then it is best to follow the road into Blackburn and carry straight on, when the roads turns right, into King Street. At the end of the one way section of King Street turn left into Barton Street and right into Cardwell Place to access Darwen Street via Astley Gate.
Find the Cathedral on Google Maps
When visiting the Cathedral the best places to park are:
- on Darwen Street (pay and display) there are various bays in Darwen Street just down from the Market Street Lane junction and all the way down. Outside BBC Radio Lancashire is popular, but there are only a few spaces.
- Saint Peter Street or Mill Lane (both pay and display)
- During the week and a weekends there is a pay and display car park next to Fleming Square with the entrance at the top end of Mincing Lane. This car park charges £3 for 5 hours parking and it very close to the Cathedral.
- I understand it is also possible to park at Morrisons for a small charge.
Since building work commenced in 2014 there is very limited parking available in the Cathedral grounds. You are politely requested not to park on the flags outside the west entrance.
For parking in the town centre I recommend the Visit Blackburn website. This provides details or car parks. There is a good quantity of on street parking available in Darwen Street and Saint Peter’s Street. Please check carefully as parking changes almost as often as the one way systems.
More About The Bells
The current bells were cast by John Taylor and Co of Loughborough and were installed in 1949. More details are shown below.
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Prior to 1949 the Cathedral had a ring of ten bells 15cwt in F. The back six were cast by Rudhall of Gloucester and four trebles were added in 1852 cast by Mears & Co of Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London.
Hear & See The Bells Ringing
- Plain Bob Royal
- Ringing on Maundy Thursday for the visit of Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh
- Firing during the inauguration of the Right Reverend Julian Tudor Henderson as the ninth Bishop of Blackburn
- Further ringing at Blackburn Cathedral following the visit of Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh
- Grandsire Triples on the back eight rung for Saint George’s Day 2016
- Half-muffled rounds and call changes on the front six bells
- Grandsire Caters