St. George’s by-the-River Carillon

St. George's Carillon was dedicated on October 23, 1934. They were donated by Mr. Bertram Borden, a St. George’s parishioner, leader and generous benefactor, in memory of his wife, Mary Owen Borden. The bells and supporting infrastructure were manufactured at the John Taylor & Co. foundry in Leicester-shire, England.

The original carillon had 25 bells. A 26th was added in 2001 and donated in the memory of Dorothy Keyes Haaren.

In addition to church ceremonies and services, the bells are played three times per year in honor of the Borden’s – October 23rd – Mary’s birthday; January 23rd – the Borden’s wedding anniversary; and September 24th – the day of Mary’s death.

A carillon is a musical instrument consisting of a keyboard and bells in a church tower.St. George’s carillon is equipped with 26 bells of varying sizes located in our church tower. The larger bells play the lower notes of the scale, and the smaller ones the higher notes.

The bells are bronze and are made up of a cup-shaped outer shell and a clapper that strikes the outer shell and generates the tone. The largest bell weighs 6,000 pounds.

The keyboard is located in a separate room located directly below the bell tower. It has 26 keys, each of which corresponds to one of the bells.

The keyboard keys, which are called batons, are connected to the bell clappers via a series of levers, rods and cables referred to as the “transmission system”. The keyboard batons are played with the fists. The individual who plays the carillon is called a carillonneur.

Our Carillon Renovation is a major project that is part of our Together for Tomorrow capital campaign. The renovation is being done to preserve the history and character of our church, and to continue to honor the wishes of Mr. Borden and the memory of his wife Mary.

Phase 1 of the project was completed last summer and the second and final phase we hope to start and complete in May. To get a complete description of the project and view photos and videos of its progress, please visit the Carillon Renovation website page (see link below).

Created By
St. George's by the River Episcopal Church McFarland

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