Heritage Open Days 2023

The church will be open to visitors wanting to learn more about the heritage in one of Barrow’s most prominent and iconic buildings. The event is free to enter and enjoy the exhibits, tours and other activities.


Register interest on our FaceBook event

Take a look at the HOD Event Spotlight on BarrowBells from HOD2016

Diary of Events

Please note that some of these events like the time of the organ recital and availability of local records are subject to confirmation. However it is the intention to provide these events as part of the Heritage Open Day, and this page will be kept up-to-date with any developments both timings and available exhibits/activities.

Friday 15th September7pm to 9pmLearn to Ring Session 1
Fast track learn-to-ring introduction (more details in section below)
Note: Additional sessions can be arranged for another day on request.
Saturday 16th September10am to 4pmChurch ground floor tours and exhibits
a) ground floor church heritage tours
b) church records from local archives (see below for more details)
c) tower records and photos from 1877 to restoration in 2014 – see below
d) handbell collection (dating from 1870) – see below.
e) light refreshments
Saturday 16th September10am to 11amTower Tour 1
20 to 30 minute talk about the history of the bells and the way they are rung.
45 minute tour of the tower – ringing room and belfry – with demonstrations,
and an opportunity to have a carefully supervised go at ringing a bell.
Accessibility: the introductory talk is on the ground floor, but the tower tour
involves ascending up to over 40 spiral steps (with handrail) to ringing chamber,
and a further 60 steps to view the belfry from above (from the old belfry).
More info – see below
Group size limited to approx. 12-15 persons (additional tours can be arranged later in the year)
Saturday 16th September11am to 12 noonTower Tour 2
See description for Tower Tour 1
Saturday 16th September12 noon to 1pmQuarter Peal
This will be a performance by the local bell-ringing team of hopefully a high
standard which can be watched on the live video feed at ground floor inside
the church, and listened to best outside. It should take approximately
50 minutes of non-stop ringing to complete the quarter peal!
Saturday 16th September1pm to 2pmOrgan Recital and Talk
Hear the magnificent sound of the church organ being played, and
learn about its fascinating history from our fine resident organist Mark Latimer
(see photos, and a brief introduction available on the church website here).
Saturday 16th September2pm to 4pmLearn to Ring Session 2
Fast track learn-to-ring introduction (more details in section below)
Note: Additional sessions can be arranged for another day on request.

Learn to Ring Sessions

The current team of bell ringers are actively seeking new recruits to join their group, to learn the skills involved for this heritage craft in a modern and social setting. It is a hobby that is great for keeping your mind sharp, giving your body a gentle workout, working together as a team, and is great for making friends locally (and any towers you visit elsewhere).

Please contact the tower captain to reserve a place on either or both sessions. These sessions are strictly limited to a maximum of 5 learners who will receive free expert one-to-one tuition designed to teach the required hands-on skills quickly. Recommend reserving both sessions if you can attend both, to make the most progress, but one session will still give a good introduction.

Tower Captain (bell-ringing)

Andy Pollock

Web Address: www.barrowbells.org.uk

More information about bellringing can be found on the bellringing page and answers to frequently asked questions is available in our downloadable handout:

Note: Click image to expand in new tab/window

Church Tour & Exhibits

Church Heritage Tours

History and tour of church handout. Volunteers to answer questions and help point visitors to items of interest.

Church Records from the Local Archives

Material relating to:

CatalogueCatalogue of material held in the local archives (highlighting the selection of items on display)
Genealogy recordsBaptism (approx. 1/3 of registers)
Confirmation Register
Weddings (approx. 1/3 of registers)
Scout GroupPhotograph and Scrapbook
Stained GlassFaculty documents for WW1 Memorial Window, East Window and Baptistry windows
Clergy PhotographsPhotographs of most of vicars 1866 to 1994
Church Historyincluding consecration poster and 50 year / centenary booklets
Fundraising eventsProgrammes (1923, 1930) & Quotations Book
Other PhotographsMiscellaneous photographs of the church

Photographs of just a few of the sights inside the church

Just a few images here as a sample, but there is much more to see. Click on any image for the full photo (many cropped)

Bells Heritage Display, Handbells, and Tower Tours

There are large display panels describing bells and bellringing, along with leaflets to take away about the history of the bells, and some frequently asked questions that are very informative and dispel some common myths.

Records include the original 1877 log book capturing almost 100 years of bell ringing life at the church, and the current log book.
There are photographs and newspaper clippings dating back over 100 years
There is an extensive display of photographs of the bells before, during and after the bell restoration in 2013-2014, including a photographic book documenting the restoration from start to finish. There is also an audio visual documentary produced by Furness College.

There are exhibits from the old belfry fixtures and fittings (tenor wheel, headstock, stays & sliders etc) that will also be used to illustrate the start of the tower tours, and help those who are unable to manage the spiral staircase to visualise the size of the bells, and a live video feed at ground level to see the bells being rung.

Organ Recital & Talk

There will be an opportunity to learn about the remarkable history of the fine organ at St James, and to hear it being played by our fine resident organist Mark Latimer.

This event is scheduled for 1pm start.