In 1870 a leading New England pastoralist, A. A. Dangar, presented a cast-iron tolling bell to Armidale’s St. Peter’s Church, built 20 years previously. The bell, named ‘Maud’ in memory of his wife, was hung in 1873 in the elegant wooden bell-cote designed at the time by the architect John Horbury Hunt, when he and Bishop James Turner were supervising the laying of the foundations of St. Peter’s Cathedral. ‘Maud’ was tolled before each service held in the first St. Peter’s and the new Cathedral.
In 1938, as the newly built Cathedral Tower was dedicated, ‘Maud’ was hauled up through a concrete trapdoor within the Tower to its summit, her bell-rope reaching to the ground floor. From there she is still tolled as the calling-bell for services, after the much newer ring of bells has pealed out over the city. This ring of eight bells, made in the Whitechapel bell foundry in London, was installed in 1996, in a ringing-chamber reached by the stone spiral staircase through the Tower.
After the opening of the Tower, and the relocation of ‘Maud’, Horbury Hunt’s bell-cote was demolished and disposed of, with nothing except photographs to remind us of one of the famous architect’s finest small structures.