About Us

St Nicholas’ Church is located in the village of Old Marston, an independent parish on the outskirts of Oxford. The church is a lively and active community including a number of activities for both adults and children.

Our bell tower is one of the leading towers in the country, and the top in Oxfordshire for Quarter Peal ringing – that’s ringing for around 45 minutes non-stop. Many ringers owe their progress to Marston.

Bell ringing is a hobby for life, lots of fun and a great way of making new friends of all ages and abilities, so why not give it a go? Recruits are needed to learn the ancient art and continue providing the joy of music across the village. We regularly support other towers who may be short of ringers for services and special occasions.

St Nicholas’ has had bells and a band to chime or ring them for many years. In the 19th century five bells were installed in the tower. In 1972 a sixth bell was added and the platform was built so that a vestry could be established underneath. With the balcony in place, the new short ropes falling easily to hand and the light ring of 6cwt mad and still make excellent teaching and learning facilities – one of the easiest in the area.

Outings and visits are provided throughout the year, some close to home, others further afield, with opportunities from small village churches to ringing at the University towers including Christ Church Cathedral.

Change ringing which our tower offers does not require brute strength, so anyone can learn as an individual or in a group. The present band consists of males and females aged 11 upwards.

Aside from the tower bells, we offer handbell ringing. Around 1948, twelve handbells were found at the Victoria Arms pub by Mr Jennings, the landlord. These bells were purchased by Bill Brain and Alec Gammon for use by the St Nicholas’ ringers. The ringers and the choir used to sing carols and ring handbells around the village at Christmas and New Year to raise money for St Nicholas’ Parish Church. Each ringer rang two bells to tunes, and later, in the 1950’s, rang method ringing. The ringers raised money to buy 24 new bells so that the scope could be enlarged.

Today, our handbells are primarily rung for special occasions but we also run workshops with groups, either in the church or we can come to you.

The Bells
See the bells and find out more here: The Bells

Guide for Bell Ringers
Dove’s Guide for Church Bell Ringers – here

Peel List for Tower
155 valid peals for Marston, Oxford, S Nicholas, Oxfordshire, England – here

How to Bell-Ring
Online resource about bell-ringing – https://www.youtube.com/user/DiscoverBellRinging


Ye Gentlemen Ringers both far and near,
That are disposed for to Ring here;
Observe this law, and mark it well.
The Man that Overthrow his Bell;
Six-pence he to the Clark must pay,
Before that he go hence away,
If he Ring with Glove, Spur, or Hat,
Sixpence he must pay for that;
If he either Curse, or Swear.
Six-pence must pay while you are here,
This is not a place to Quarrel in,
To Curse, and Swear, it is a sin.

Thank you to the Captain of Badingham and Dennington Towers who collected this from Dennington Ringing Chamber, dated 1795

Contact Us

Hugh Deam

(Captain of Bell Ringers)

St Nicholas Church

Marston, OX3 0PR

Tel: 07484 223014

Email: hugh.deam@btinternet.com

Roy Peach (secretary)

Tel: 07788746157

email: rpeach87@gmail.com

About Us

We are a group of local people who share a passion for campanology - the art of bell ringing. We are part of a tradition that goes back hundreds of years and are always keen to welcome new members who are interested in taking part.

Hand Bells

In addition to the church bells, we also regularly meet to ring hand bells. Contact us to find out more.