Bell Ringing at St Mary’s Cathedral

Bells have been rung as part of Christian ritual for centuries: they have summoned the faithful to worship since the 4th century, and the bells of St. Mary’s have done so since the Cathedral was opened in 1879. The passing bell seeks prayers for someone passing to another life, and the tolling bell mourns their death. Bells also celebrate joyous occasions: they announce Sunday morning Eucharist and the Cathedral bells also ring regularly for weddings and on special occasions such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral is the largest ecclesiastical building in Scotland. It was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the neo-gothic style and its three spires, from which it is sometimes referred to as The Lichfield of the North, form a significant and prominent feature of the Edinburgh skyline.

We have a very fine peal of twelve bells and are the only twelve-bell church-tower in Scotland; we are also the most northerly twelve-bell church-tower in the world.

The bells are rung by The St. Mary’s Cathedral Society of Change Ringers, who are also responsible for maintaining the bells and ringing facilities in good working order. We provide tuition for those wishing to learn how to ring church bells and we welcome visitors at service ringing on Sunday mornings and at practice ringing on Thursday evenings. The 12-bell practice has been suspended for now, so all Thursdays are normal practice nights.

You will find the history of the bells and tower, and information about bell ringing at St. Mary’s Cathedral on this website.

About us

St. Mary’s Cathedral Society of Change Ringers

   President: The Very Revd John Conway, Provost

Vice-President: The Revd Canon John McLuckie

Conductor/Ringing Master: Ian Bell

Secretary: Barbara Bell (contact via e-mail at

Steeple-Keeper: Mark Hutcheson

Treasurer: Wilma Tolmie

Committee Member Neil Ballard

Service Ringing: Sunday 9.45am – 10.30am

Practice Ringing: Thursday 7pm – 9pm, beginners 6.30pm

Visiting bands and peal bands should apply to the Secretary in writing/via e-mail at

Our practice night is Thursday at 7pm. This is preceded at 6.30pm by handling practice for beginners on tied bells.

The Society comprises honorary, full and probationary members, men and women, currently of ages 25 to 75, and of all kinds of occupations. Outside of St. Mary’s, we may ring at other towers, locally and within Scotland. We support The Scottish Association of Change-Ringers – our local Association, attending meetings and ringing & social events. We ourselves have annual outings, usually to the north of England, sometimes further afield and enjoy regular social activities. On practice nights, we usually adjourn to a local pub after a busy practice for “refreshment”.