There have been bells at St Mary’s since at least 1516. The current peal of 12 bells plus a semitone were installed in 2009 as a result of a generous gift made to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the founding of the University. Also in the tower and still chiming today are the original clock bells and upon which bells was first sounded the famous “Cambridge Chimes” (which were widely copied and now more commonly known as the “Westminster Chimes”).
Ringing at St Mary’s is performed by the Society of Cambridge Youths which was founded in 1724 and is the second oldest ringing society anywhere with a continuous history. The Society rings the bells for Services twice on a Sunday (8.35am-9.30am and 5.30pm-6.30pm) as well as special University and Civic occasions. It practices on most Monday evenings from 7pm to 9pm. The ringing is led by the Master of the Society David Pipe and visitors are always welcome to both service and practice ringing. During University Term the Sunday Evening ringing is delegated to the Cambridge University Guild of Change Ringers.
For current details of ringing and for information on the history of the bells details then please check the Society of Cambridge Youths website .