The Kilwhang Ringers, a Handbell ringing group, was established in September 2007 by Catherine Walker.
Catherine, as Director of Music and Organist at Dunnottar Church at that time, discovered there was a set of hand bells at South Church Stonehaven. She contacted Christine Hunter, who was keeper of the bells, and together they advertised for interested parties to form a handbell group.
The set of John Shaw English Bells at South Church belonged to Mrs Elspeth Richmond who, with her husband, the late Reverend Robin Richmond, had brought the bells to Stonehaven, after moving from Port Patrick.
Catherine began arranging music for handbells and encouraged members of the group, who had not previously read music, to do so.
Derek Hunter, a member of Dunnottar Church, gifted a set of Malmark American bells to the group.
The name, ‘Kilwhang Ringers’ was chosen by members of the group, Kilwhang being an old name for Stonehaven. ‘Kil’ means church, but ‘whang’ is more difficult to trace. We think it means ‘Comman’ (Quhoan). Kilwhang may therefore mean the church of St. Comman. Another possibility is that whang means ‘long road’. Kilwhang, ‘church on the long road’. The name has no written evidence linking it to Stonehaven, hence much is folklore.
As the group expanded and progressed, practices moved from South Church to the Upper Room at Dunnottar Church. Mrs Richmond kindly transferred ownership of the John Shaw Bells to the Kilwhang Ringers for as long as the group is in existence.
Current membership is around fourteen and the group is open to anyone who has an interest in making music. Unlike most musical instruments, handbell ringing is about teamwork, requiring a group of people to come together as one. The handbells can be played by people of any age.
Rehearsals are from 10am until 11:45am on Mondays during term time.
It has been another music filled year for us with a variety of performances around the local countryside.
We are also celebrating our tenth year as a Handbell Group as of 17th September 2017.
Margaret Godsman collated and produced archive information covering the years since our formation. Statistics include approximately eighty performances, with one thousand two hundred and fifty pieces of music played. At rehearsals we have sipped our way through approximately five thousand cups of tea/coffee and eaten our way through five thousand and more biscuits and cakes!
As part of our ‘Tenth Year Celebrations’ we donated some money to two groups in the local community. These were Carronhill School, Stonehaven, and St. Bridget’s Hall lighting fund.
On the birthday date we enjoyed musically decorated cakes made by Maggie O’Hagan and sparkling refreshments to celebrate.
In May we held our annual Coffee morning and performance in St. Bridget’s Hall, Stonehaven.
In October, some of us attended the Autumn Rally at Bankfoot, hosted by Blair Bells. The Conductor was Mr Fred Gramman, Director of Music at the American Church in Paris. This was a wonderful musical experience.
Christmas performances included Carols by Candlelight at Auchenblae Church and the Christingle Service at South Church, Stonehaven, on Christmas Eve.
Bookings for this year are already being put in our diaries.
Our membership stands at seventeen as we have just welcomed a new member.
During the month of January, we have a display in the library window in Stonehaven.
Ros Marshall Hon. Sec.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the Kilwhang Ringers should contact the Dunnottar Church Secretary at the Church Office by email: