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Family Reunion at Liverpool Cathedral

October 16

Members of Thomas Bartlett's family united at the Cathedral in September to mark the centenary of his death. Thomas generously left money to provide for our magnificent ring of bells.

 Family Reunion at Liverpool Cathedral

Thomas Bartlett, a successful Liverpool businesman and a generous benefactor to many Liverpool institutions, left in his will money to provide for a ring of 12 bells for the new Cathedral then under construction. He died on 4th September, 1912, more than a quarter of a century before the bells which bear his name were cast, and 39 years before they were first rung. In accordance with his wishes, his final resting place is in the ringing chamber where his ashes sit in a coffer on a stone plinth. To mark the centenary of his death, and of the bequest of the bells, work has been put in hand to improve the situation of Thomas Bartlett's remains, initially with new lighting, and on 4th September a commemorative peal of Stedman Cinques was rung to mark the occasion.

On Saturday, 22nd September, after several months of planning, over 40 members of the Bartlett family arrived at the Cathedral from all over the country. Some family photos had been arranged, followed by a swift tour of the Cathedral and then up in the lifts to the ringing room, where the Canon Precentor, Rev'd Myles Davies, formally welcomed the family. Canon Davies spoke about maintaining the links between the Cathedral and the Bartlett family which have been renewed, and then offered a prayer of thanksgiving for the life of Thomas Bartlett and his bequest. The party then spent some time on the belfry floor viewing the bells and their inscriptions (the initial letters of which spell out "Thomas Bartlett"), after which Ringing Master Len Mitchell presented a framed copy of the Centenary Peal to Michael Bartlett as representing the family.

Some good ringing and a large contingent of ringers (including a slightly bemused band of visitors from Taunton) enabled the family, many for the first time, to hear the Bartlett bells in action, and to watch them via a video link to the belfry. A number of the family were also keen to listen to the ringing from outside as well, and the following 90 minutes ringing was interspersed with rounds of applause which was very encouraging to the band!

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