Ellacombe Chime Bicentenary

Ellacombe Chime Bicentenary June 26th 2021

Should we in Devon celebrate the invention and installation of Ellacombe Chimes in our bell towers?  There are many reasons why we should and commit to ringing the chimes in all the towers in Devon that still retain and maintain their Ellacombe chimes, on Saturday 26th June at 11am.

Rev. Henry Thomas Ellacombe invented his chimes when he was the vicar of Bitton in Gloucestershire. However he was a true Devonian. He was born in Alphington, Devon in 1790, where his father Rev. William Ellacombe whose wife Hannah was an heiress to the Farringdon estate, was the vicar. Henry became a curate at Bitton in 1817 until 1835 when he was made the vicar. He returned to Devon in 1850 to be the Vicar at Clyst St George, where he died in 1885. Although his funeral was held at Clyst St George his body was taken back to be buried at Bitton.

During his years at Clyst St. George Henry not only dedicated his life to his parish and church but also to bellringing. Ellacombe chimes have been installed in churches across the world. It is thought that currently there are 427 in the UK,    14 in the USA, 12 in Canada, 11 in Australia, 6 in Asia, 4 in Ireland and 6 in New Zealand.  Unfortunately many in the UK have been removed.

During his years at Clyst St George, Ellacombe published many books on bell ringing, most being printed at his own expense. In one he reports the details of his visits in 1864 and 65 to 452 towers in Devon together with the inscriptions on all their bells. He referred to the poor state of many towers. He was not in favour of bellringing competitions where profits were made, though he reported that in 1848 Bellringers were paid 20 shillings to ring before and after weddings. In today’s money it equates to almost £120. He favoured method ringing and in 1874 was an instigator of the establishment of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers. He is also responsible for erecting a school house and masters residence in 1860 in Clyst St George.

To celebrate the Bicentenary, Bitton Bellringers are organising that Ellacombe Chimes are to be rung on Saturday 26th June 2021 at 11 am starting in New Zealand and then progressing around the world at 11 am in each countries own time zone.                                                                            

To support these celebrations and for more information about the event see at

Ellacombe Chimes Bicentenary – St Mary’s, Bitton

https://stmarysbitton.org.uk › Chimes Leaflet V4.1…