Bells ring out unique Magna Carta peal

Ringing the bells at the Norman Tower for Magna Carta anniversary. ANL-140811-194004009
Ringing the bells at the Norman Tower for Magna Carta anniversary. ANL-140811-194004009

The Norman Tower bell ringers in Bury St Edmunds made a special peal of the bells on Saturday to mark the 800th anniversary of the meeting of the Magna Carta Barons.

The meeting, rumoured to have taken place in the Abbey of St Edmund in the autumn of 1214, led to King John sealing the Magna Carta in June 1215.

The town has been marking its significant role in the signing of the historic document throughout the year, most recently with the Our Liberty Sound and Light trail.

Bell ringers rang the 10 largest bells in the free-standing tower, formerly the gateway to the Abbey and now the bell tower for St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

A brand new peal, St Edmund’s Abbey Surprise Royal, was written for the occasion. It is made up of 5,800 complex patterns called changes and was expected to take around four hours to perform in full.

Cathedral PR manager Sarah Friswell said: “It is great that our local bell ringers have created this unique way to celebrate the anniversary.”