Gloucester Cathedral bells chime again as leaving gift

Gloucester Cathedral Eight of the cathedral's 12 bells are played electronically during the chimes

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The chimes of Gloucester Cathedral have sounded again after a silence which has lasted two decades.

Some £6,000 was spent restoring the chimes, partly covered as a leaving gift for an outgoing diocese employee.

Each day of the week a different tune will be heard at 08:00, 13:00 and 17:00 - 16:00 at the weekend - shortly after the sounding of the hour bell.

Seven traditional chimes will usually be heard but other tunes will be added at times such as Christmas and Easter.

'Something unique'

In the sounding of the chimes, eight of the cathedral's 12 bells are played electronically, unlike Sundays and other special days when a team of bell-ringers is used.

The chiming mechanism broke 20 years ago and, until now, there has not been the finances or interest at the cathedral to repair the system.

The restoration was requested by a Diocese of Gloucester employee, leaving after 28 years of work, who asked for donations towards the work in lieu of a leaving present.

"I really wanted to hear those chimes again, so this is my leaving present to the cathedral," said Canon Jonathan MacKechnie-Jarvis.

"This is an amazing piece of our heritage. Two of the bells date from about 1400. The hour bell weighs three tonnes - the only medieval bell of that size to survive.

"And two of the chime tunes are ancient Plainsong melodies, more than a thousand years old. Put that together with solid-state circuitry and surely this is something unique.

"I am so grateful to my colleagues and to my many friends in the parishes for their generosity."

Other money has come from a Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust grant and individual donations.

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