The Minster Church of St Marys in Axminster has a tradition of peal-ringing, for the first time since covid, the 'advent church peal' will return.

On December 2, the Advent Peal, will be rung again from 10am-1pm.  Axminster has a fine set of bells that attract ringers from afar, the band for this year will be pulled together from both Exeter Cathedral and Wimborne Minster bands.

Traditionally, the bells would Peal to celebrate the completion of an Axminster hand-tufted carpet as a great amount of time and labour went into their manufacture. Up until 2020 an annual Peal has been rung at the Minster near Advent Sunday, the last Peal was rung on 30th November 2019 comprising 5003 changes of Grandsire Caters.

The Minster has 10 bells, which may be rung in order from smallest to largest. A single chime of each of the 10 bells is called a line and takes about 2 seconds. Rung in the order of 1-10 they are said to be rung in rounds as the ringers stand in a circle and strike the bells in order. The bells do not need to be rung in ascending size order and changing order can create music which is unique to bell ringing.

For a Peal each possible order of the bells should be rung consecutively without a break. There are 3,628,800 ways to arrange 10 bells (10!). Each line of 10 bells takes around 2 seconds meaning all of the unique lines would take 2100h to ring, this is not practically possible. Since 8 bell towers are more common the number of unique lines for a Peal is based on 7 bells with an 8th bell covering. There are 5040 combinations of 7 (7!) which takes a more reasonable 3 hours to ring.

Peal ringing is an aspiration of ringers equivalent to that of running a marathon, it takes commitment to reach this level. We do not often ring Peals at the Minster, preferring Quarter Peals comprising 1260 unique lines and taking 45 minutes to perform. A Quarter peal could be compared to that of the level of a 10k run, achievable for more ringers but still not just a walk in the park.