Who are we?

Castle Bromwich bellringers aim to keep the bells of St Mary & St Margaret's church ringing as they have for hundreds of years. Aged from 13 to nearly 70, we ring for the main Sunday Eucharist from 9.30 am till 10 am. 

We practice on Wednesday evenings from 7.30 pm to 9 pm and usually go to the local pub for a pint or two, a historic part of bellringing tradition!

We also ring for weddings and funerals and special occasions, including services at Easter and Christmas and for national events such as St George's Day and the Queen's birthday.
 In fact, if we can find an excuse to ring, we ring!

Truth to tell, we're not very clever ringers - but we are loyal, faithful and true! If you want to ring with us, you'll be made very welcome. If you'd like to learn this ancient skill, we'll teach you. And if you'd just like to pay us a visit, we'll show you round (Over the past year we've welcomed over 500 people to the tower!) Get in touch via the Contacts page.

The Castle Bromwich Bell Restoration Project was set up by the ringers in 2013. 

Our bells were recast in 1952 and are a fine example of beautifully toned bells by the (now defunct) bellfounders Gillett & Johnston. Unfortunately, the frame and fittings are an example of Gillett & Johnston's latter-day bellhanging and exemplify the tradition of codge and bodge. And Charles Carr's 1893 frame was not a good starting point anyway!

In 1952 a new metal frame was set above Carr's old wooden one with the intention of hanging two new trebles when finances allowed. Finances never did allow.  However, it has been the talk of the tower for the past 30 years, that one day we might achieve that ambition. 

And then in 2013, over a pint or three in the Castle Bromwich Remembrance Club, we began to discuss the possibility of refurbishing the fittings of the six, well why not add two trebles while we're at it. Oh dammit, let's have all new fittings, plus two trebles all hanging in a new 8-bell steel frame. 

Based on previous estimates, we reckoned this would cost perhaps £30,000. It cost over three times that amount. Ah well!

We set up a trust in November 2013 and registered as the Castle Bromwich Bell Restoration Project (CBBRP) with the Charity Commission in January the following year. In August 2017, we successfully completed a full restoration with two new trebles, making a full octave of eight. 

The Trustees

(Left to right)
Stuart Stanton is chair of the trustees and steeple keeper at Castle Bromwich. Well used to tightening nuts and bolts in the belfry, he helped install the new ring of 10 at Moseley. Son James is a former captain and daughter Vicky also learnt to ring here.

Jean Willis is secretary and treasurer of the CBBRP. She learnt to ring at Castle Bromwich as an adult and has now has rung at towers across the city and beyond. Son Jonathan is  one of our regular bellringers. 

Ben Sassons is a member of a family long associated with this church. He was appointed tower captain in  September 2017 and and is the youngest tower captain in the St Martin's (Birmingham) Guild. Sister Vicky is also a Castle Bromwich bellringer.

Bill Dargue has rung Castle Bromwich bells for over 30 years. He is a former captain and is now responsible for public relations for the Trust. Daughter Emily and son John were also ringers here, John ringing for his own wedding at our church in May 2013.

The Rector, Rev Mark Hopkins is a trustee.

James Stanton, a former captain of Castle Bromwich tower has agreed to act as our technical advisor. 

Our patrons

The Rt Hon Richard Bridgeman, The Earl of Bradford
 (right) readily agreed to be a patron of the Trust. His ancestors have been lords of the manor of Castle Bromwich since 1657 and were resident in Castle Bromwich Hall until 1937.

Sir Charles Robin De Bohun Devereux, The Viscount Hereford (left) is also pleased to offer his support. His family were the manorial lords from the 15th century (and by marriage back to the Domesday Book). His ancestor, Sir Edward Devereux built Castle Bromwich Hall and was created 1st Baronet Devereux of Castle Bromwich by King James I in 1611. Viscount Hereford is the 16th Baronet Devereux of Castle Bromwich.

Our supporters - We hope you will be one!

What can we do for you?

We're only a small group of volunteers, but we love to share our hobby with others.

* Come and learn to ring the bells

. If you're reasonably fit and can count up to 6 or 8, come and give it a go - Wednesdays at 7.30 pm. There is no charge! Get in touch via the Contact page.

Or just spend an evening with us and see how it's done.

* We heartily welcome visiting ringers! Whatever your level of ringing you're probably better than us!
Come for a grab.

* Former ringers - Many people young and older have learned to ring the bells at Castle Bromwich and have moved on. We're always delighted to welcome back former ringers whatever their level of skill. Come and have another go - or just say 'Hello!'

* Say it with bells. Couples getting married at Castle Bromwich are always offered a ring of bells as they come out of the church. There is a fee for this - but what is a wedding without wedding bells?
We can also ring for you for any other reason. If you or a loved one have a special occasion such as a significant birthday, engagement, anniversary or baptism, why not have the bells of St Mary's and St Margaret's rung especially for you? Get in touch via the Contact page.  All donations will go towards the Castle Bromwich Bell Restoration Project.

* Have a guided tour of the church and/ or tower. We have shown school children, scout and guide groups, local history groups and others around the church (We have a church quiz). We let people have a ring of the bells (under supervision) and have taken lots of people up the tower. We have had cubs enrolled on the top of the tower and sung Happy Birthday up there! There is also the possibility of access to the medieval roof space via the ringing chamber. All donations go towards the Castle Bromwich Bell Restoration Project. You could combine a visit here with a visit to Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens and/ or Castle Bromwich Hall Hotel (bar and restaurant open to non-residents) - both Recommended. Get in touch!

Below: Here we are in 1906, 1952 and on New Year's Day 2000.

Tower Captains: 

We were surprised and delighted to welcome two former captains of Castle Bromwich belltower on 9th October 2013. Bill Sanders, now retired to Devon, became captain some 35 years ago when Canon Brooke was the Rector. Regular ringing had stopped at that time although ringing for weddings still took place. Renowned ringer Fred Bailey was captain and taught Bill the exercise of bellringing. Bill was at that time in charge of Castle Bromwich Methodist youth club and brought a large number of youngsters to ring here over the years, including his daughter Carol, now living in Burntwood, who subsequently succeeded him as captain. When Carol moved away from Castle Bromwich, Bill took a second turn. It's almost certain that there would be no ringing now at Castle Bromwich if it had not been for the efforts of Bill Sanders. 
He was succeeded by Bill Dargue, myself, still ringing at Castle Brom after 30 years - thrilled to welcome back old friends, who were introduced to our present captain, Dan Harris. And as we were about to leave for a well-earned pint, who should arrive but James Stanton, the tower captain before Dan.

Five captains of Castle Bromwich in the same place at the same time. Must be a good omen!. 

Below: Left to right in chronological order starting with the current captain: Dan Harris, James Stanton, Bill Dargue, Carol Whitson and Bill Sanders.