More than 100 ringers will be taking part in a regional battle of the bells at a Wiltshire church to see who can strike the best.

Nine teams from all over the South West will gather at St James’ Church in Trowbridge for the fourth annual 12 Bell Striking competition.

The winners will take home the coveted Higby Trophy and be named the best 12-bell striking team in the South West 2023.

Wiltshire Times: The 500cwt sixth of the 12 bells at St James' Church in Trowbridge. The 500cwt sixth of the 12 bells at St James' Church in Trowbridge. (Image: Veronica Newman)

Event organiser Simon Ridley said: “This annual competition brings out teams from all over the south west of England.

“Not only is it a friendly competition, but a wonderful opportunity for people to meet, enjoy something to eat and drink and listen to each other’s performances.

“This year, the judges will be assisted by computer software, so there will be no hiding place for error! Please do come and listen if you can.”

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St James is the only church in Wiltshire with 12 bells. The ring of 12 bells was recast from a ring of 10 and two new bells added by the John Taylor Bell Foundry of Loughborough in 1934.

A year earlier, the bells had been silent and locals began a fundraising campaign to get them working again.

This was only possible after £1,100 was raised following a remarkable fundraising effort by the people of Trowbridge in a campaign generously supported by the Wiltshire Times.

Following a welcome by Reverend Jake Eggersten, the Rector of St James; Church and and St Leonard's in Keevil, the competition will start at 10.30am and will finish at around 3pm on Saturday, October 14.

Nine teams of 12 ringers from Tewkesbury, Cheltenham, Bristol (two), Wimbourne, Exeter, Truro, Chilcompton and Trowbridge are taking part.

They will ascend the St James’ Church bell tower to ring the test piece of “Little Bob Maximus” while outside a team of experts will judge their efforts.

Veronica Newman, spokesperson for the St James’ Church bellringing team, said: “Good striking is considered to occur when the ringing is absolutely regular, with a metronomic even beat, so the space between each of the bells is exactly the same. This is achieved using a combination of physical, visual and listening skills.”

The third South West 12 Bell Striking Competition was held at Taunton St Mary in October last year and was won by a team from Bristol St Stephen.