Our beautiful Parish Church Bells

Loudly proclaim with one accord

The sound of church bells ringing out on Christmas morning was part of the radio landscape (on BBC national radio) for just over four decades.  The peal of bells from British churches and cathedrals were featured in a short programme (10 to 20 minutes) on the Home Service and then Radio 4 between 1943 and 1986. For the almost half that time they were introduced by Robert Hudson (commentator mainly for cricket and numerous royal events) but earlier sequences were linked by staff announcers or former staff announcers.

From Christmas Day 1960 comes this recording of Christmas Bells. It’s another tape recorded at the time by Eric Bartington and re-discovered recently in New Zealand by Gerard de Roo. The first minute or so is missing but the bells included here are from Sheffield Cathedral, Ottery St. Mary Parish Church in Devon (pictured above), Parish Church of St. Patrick Ballymena in Co. Antrim, Parish Church of St. Mary Hampton in Middlesex, Birmingham Cathedral, St. Cuthbert's Church Edinburgh, Parish Church of St. Mary Swansea and, as was often the tradition on this broadcasts, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Article kindly supplied by : Andy Walmsley who writes about radio broadcasting on his blog Random Radio Jottings. A few months ago he was given a recording that dates from December 1960 and features the regular Christmas morning programme 'Christmas Bells'. This particular recording includes the bells of the church in Ottery St Mary.

Use the link below to listen to the recording of the Church Christmas Bells.