Oranges and Corges, it’s the Bells of Saint George!

The first English carillon in France

Have you ever thought of bell ringing as a pastime?

This year, St.George’s Church in Vernet-Les-Bains received ten new bells.

They are the first change-ringing bells in France, and were cast by John Taylor & Co at their foundry in Loughborough.

The church, which was built in the early 20th century by the English, was funded with contributions from famous author Rudyard Kipling and the daughter of Queen Victoria, Princess Beatrice among others.

St George's Vernet Les Bains

It has a tower but no bells were ever installed.

Several years ago a well-known English bell ringer, Jeff Ladd, had the idea of fundraising to install a set of bells. With the help and cooperation of the commune of Vernet les Bains and the Fondation du Patrimoine, a project was launched to manufacture the bells and bring them over to France.

The particularity of English bell ringing is that the bells are controlled with ropes pulled by ringers, and the ringers can change the order of the bells at each pull of the rope because the bells are mounted on a wheel.

The very harmonious sound that this produces can be heard in English villages every weekend. On feast days and Sundays it will now be heard for the first time in France in Vernet les Bains.

Bell tour of Saint Georges Vernet les Bains

It is particularly appropriate that these English bells should be installed in Vernet les Bains which has long had a strong English connection. The village has the only monument to the Franco-British Entente Cordiale and it is hoped that this new project will continue this fine tradition.

Jeff Ladd and Michael Strutt will be happy to give lessons to those, young and old, wishing to learn this interesting activity. Interested? Please send your contact details to

Bells of Saint Georges Vernet les Bains

The official blessing and inauguration of the bells will take place on Sunday, September 29th. That weekend , there will be a Fête des Cloches, Morris dancing, bell ringing, period costume, fish and chips and a garden party. Everyone is welcome.

Quelle est la différence entre un clocher et la lettre A ?
La lettre A, c’est la voyelle, et le clocher, c’est là qu’on sonne (la consonne)
(une voyelle – vowel une consonne – consonant)

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