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Record-breaking bellringing to celebrate 500 years of the Chirk Church tower

Bell-ringers will gather at St Mary’s Church in Chirk to attempt to ring the longest peal of bells in north Wales.

The record-breaking ring is part of celebrations to mark 500 years of the church’s tower and north aisle, taking place on 12-14 July.

The band of six ringers, plus four umpires who will check the accuracy of the ringing, will attempt to ring 10,500 doubles and minor between 10.30am and 4.30pm on Friday 12 July.

The Ringing Master of the North Wales Association of Church Bell Ringers, Peter Furniss, said: “We will be attempting the longest peal by this method, ever done in North Wales.  It’s never been tried before so if we succeed, it will be a fitting tribute to the bell tower which has stood here for 500 years.”

The current ring of six bells date from 1814, but documents show there were bells in the tower long before that.  The existing bells were cast in Gloucester by John Rudhall.

There is thought to have been a place of worship on the site of St Mary’s Church in Chirk since the fifth or sixth century. The site would have been a Llan, a walled enclosure containing a church, hermit’s huts and burial grounds.  It is known the site was dedicated originally to Saint Tysilio and re-dedicated to Saint Mary in the late 15th or early 16th century. The first stone church was built in Chirk during the early 11th Century by the Normans.

Celebrations to mark 500 years of the tower and north aisle include an open day on Saturday 13 July with stalls, tower tours, refreshments, music and children’s activities from 10.30am. On Sunday 14 July a service of celebration will take place at 11am followed by birthday cake.  All are welcome.

St Mary’s Church, Chirk is part of the Offa Mission Area which also includes Ruabon, Penycae and Rhosymedre. It is part of the Diocese of St Asaph, one of the six dioceses of the Church in Wales and an independent province within the Anglican Communion.  Further information is available on the church’s website: http://www.stmaryschirk.org.uk/

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