Oxford Society Towers
The OS have responsibility for the rings of bells which are in the Colleges and University buildings - see www.oxfordsociety.org.uk.
The OS home towers are Christ Church and Lincoln College, and they also provide the ringing for the many special occasions (weddings, Royal occasions, Saints' Days etc) at most of Oxford's other towers. The OS also take over the OUS towers of Mary Mag and St Thos outside term time. Many of the more accomplished OUS ringers are also members of the OS.
Oxford Society Towers
|Christ Church (Sunday ringing)||1st and 3rd Thursdays|
|Lincoln College (weekly practice)||Wednesday|
|Merton College||No practice|
|Magdalen College||Monthly Wednesday practice during vac|
A challenging but rewarding 31cwt ring of twelve. They sound lovely from outside, but some bells are tricky to ring due to frame movement, especially in dry weather (steer clear of 1, 7, 10, 11...). Ropesight is also a bit tricky, as the front six are are virtually in a straight line, and several other bells are very close to the outer walls. If you want to learn to ring on higher numbers, it is probably better off starting with St Thos and then trying out twelve at our termly trip to Reading. Practices are 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursdays with Stedman Cinques and Cambridge Maximus as a minimum standard. The bells are rung for Sunday service, from 9-10am.
A bit like Mary Mag, Lincoln College has a recently rehung 8cwt eight, which go very nicely and sound good for the bells' assorted histories. This is where the OS have their weekly practice, which is on Wednesday evenings. It is basically an advanced/Surprise practice, normally getting up to 8-spliced, Glasgow and Belfast.
This is the novelty set of bells in Oxford. They're a superb 25cwt eight. But that's not the novelty. You ring standing on a balcony around the edge of the large tower 50 feet off the ground, with the solid part of the protective barrier only slightly higher than the tenor box. Those with a dodgy handling style may get their knuckles rapped - literally - on the barrier, and those who suffer from vertigo may as well stay at home. Tip - don't be tempted to ring slowly due to the fact that your nearest ringer is several feet away from you - the bells go very well and are much better rung fast. And the 7th has a particularly fine view straight down the nave of the chapel.
A fine 17cwt ring of ten - old-fashioned, resonant and with a long-ish draft, they go very well. The recent rehang has sorted out the horrendous odd struckness that used to affect the 7 and 8. They are well worth being at for the May Morning celebrations, where a choir sings from the top of the tower and then the bells ring out at 6am to the audience of 13,000 students on Magdalen Bridge.
A 15cwt ring of six in a now secular tower bang in the centre of Oxford. Like SMV you are constantly interrupted by tourists trying to walk through the rope circle on their way to the top of the tower. Some of the bells suffer from odd struckness and they can all be difficult if they haven't be recently oiled. There is generally only ringing here for special occasions.