Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Just before the Sunday six-bells chime"

Trowel in my hands, digging deeper, always digging deeper ... In an effort to accurately determine the location of the bells referenced in "Beside You" (read here), I emailed a trio of churches near Van Morrison's childhood home on Hyndford Street: St. Donard's, Bloomfield Methodist, and Bloomfield Presbyterian.

The first response was from Rev. Frank Sellar, minister at Bloomfield Presbyterian. He informed me that neither his church nor Bloomfield Methodist has bells.
Hello Ryan; good to hear from you and thank you for your question.

Reading your blog, I think you are right. The bells in Van's songs belong to St Donard's Church of Ireland Church. While Bloomfield Presbyterian has a bell tower, sadly there are no bells in it and Bloomfield Methodist do not have bells either.

I imagine the 'Sunday 6 bells' would not be the Angelus (as the C of I would not observe Catholic practice) but more likely to be the bells calling people to evening service (but I might be wrong, so will Cc this to the rector of St Donards Rev Ken Higgins). Also Ken might be able to tell you if there are 6 bells in the tower?

Every good wish Ryan in your creative genius.

Soon after, a response arrived from the rector at St. Donard's, Rev. Ken Higgins.
Hi Ryan,

Thanks for your query about the bells @ St Donard's church. Frank forwarded it on to me. I agree with his thoughts that it is most probably St Donard's bells that is being referred to - as we are the only church with bells that still ring out - although they ring at 6.30pm calling people to worship at 7pm - although this may have been different in Van Morrison's time here.

Ken Higgins
More information to follow ...

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