When the church opened there were three bells. Two were given by the Founder and the third by the Rev. Staniforth whose bell was discovered already cast as a model for Great Ben in the Houses of Parliament.
Two more bells were added by the founder in 1860 and the sixth by the Rev. Baskett in 1905. They were all cast and hung by Warners of London. These six bells were not in perfect tune and the decision was taken in 1933 to have them recast into the existing set of eight bells.
The bells were rehung in a steel frame and have been kept in excellent condition. They are favoured by visiting teams of ringers and the peals often ring out up and down the valley.
Bellringing is a hobby that has varied in popularity over the years and is one that demands dedication and practice. Even so, there is an ongoing interest in bell-ringing in Birstwith and the bells of St. James’ ring out before every service and on special occasions.
If you would like to join the Bellringers, please contact Maurice Worsnop, Tower Captain, on 01423 770654.