St Peter & St Paul

South Petherton, with the Seavingtons

and the Lambrooks


After the failure last October to break a world record in Bell Ringing there was a further attempt to break this World Record in South Petherton on 17 October 2015. On this occasion the attempt was successful. Congratulations to the band! This is a tremendous achievement, for which they should be proud.

The record in Church Bell ringing that was rung on bells in Birmingham Cathedral 50 years ago has been broken.  The band of experienced bellringers from all over the country met on Saturday, 17th October to ring 21,216 changes of a method known as Cambridge Surprise Maximus.  As the previous record, set in 1965, is of 16,368 changes it can be seen that a clear margin was achieved. I understand that the Birmingham Cathedral record beat an earlier record set in 1907.

The 12 ringers involved were subject to rules laid down by the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and each ringer had to ring his bell for the whole time without a break.  This record peal attempt took approximately fourteen and a half hours to ring, this is no mean feat!

Ringing commenced at 7:02am and was successfully completed at about 9:30pm.

In order to try to contain the sound within the confines of the churchyard some additional sound control mechanisms were installed in the tower.  Fortunately this was not entirely successful, in a large part of the village it was easy enough to step outside and hear that the attempt was still on course. The church was open throughout the day for visitors to come along and listen and watch the ringers up in the tower via a video link, and refreshments were available.

For most of the day there was a good lively atmosphere in the church from the large number of people coming to watch and listen. From about 8:30pm more people gradually filled the church, until approximately 200 people were present to watch the culmination of this fantastic effort. When the attempt was finally successful loud cheering and applause arose from the crowd who had been silent during the final few minutes. The band heard the cheering from the ringing chamber.

More loud applause greeted the first member of the band to appear in the main body of the church. He could not face it alone and retreated back to the ringing chamber to gather moral support from the rest of the band.  When he reappeared, applause again broke out and continued until all the band members and the adjudicator had entered the main body of the church. Here they were provided with well earned refreshments. Let us just say that the Church of England has no objection to beer being provided.

In all the excitement we should not forget that the adjudicators had to keep their wits about them for the entire attempt in order to ensure that all the rules, including the exact sequence of changes were observed. Our congratulations also go to the adjudicators.

David Purnell, one of our own band of ringers, was instrumental in bringing together this record attempt. He was a member of the band that held the previous record.


This record  was beaten in St. Anne’s church, Alderney on 25th October 2017. 25056 Bristol Surprise Maximus by a band led by Michael Wilby

Privacy Statement