Bells

in the Roman Tower

A photograph of the ‘Kantnerin’ bell.
‘Kantnerin’
A photograph of the ‘Fehringerin’ bell.
‘Fehringerin’
A photograph of the ‘Bieringerin’ bell.
‘Bieringerin’
A photograph of the ‘Churpötsch’ bell.
‘Churpötsch’
A photograph of the ‘Chorglöckl’ bell.
‘Chorglöckl’
A photograph of the ‘Feuerin’ bell.
‘Feuerin’

The six historic bells in the northern Roman Tower

Six of the historic bells at St. Stephen’s Cathedral hang in a huge wooden belfry, parts of which date back to the Middle Ages. The belfry, together with the bells hanging in it, survived the cathedral fire because the northern Roman Tower did not catch fire. The bells ring out as soloists after evening prayer from Thursday to Sunday, and together or in combination on Saturdays and Sundays before vespers at 5 p.m. These bells are of great historical and musical value.

Video recordings

1. ‘Kantnerin’

Pitch: E flat’ + 2

Weight: approx. 1,250 kg

Ø 129.7 cm

Cast in 1772 (re-cast from 1552) by Franz Joseph Scheichel in Vienna

It called the cantors to the service.

2. ‘Fehringerin’

Pitch: G flat’ + 4

Weight: approx. 750 kg

Ø 111.5 cm

Cast in 1772 by Franz Joseph Scheichel in Vienna

It was rung for high mass on Sundays, the origin of its name is unclear. Today, it rings every Sunday after the Angelus at 8 p.m. in special memory of all those who died the previous week.

3. ‘Bieringerin’

Pitch: A flat’ + 7

Weight: approx. 530 kg

Ø 99 cm

Cast in 1772 (re-cast from 1546) by Franz Joseph Scheichel in Vienna

For centuries, it rang to signal closing time for the beer taverns in the vicinity of St. Stephen’s in the evenings. Today, it is rung for the same reason every year on the evenings of the ‘Steffl-Kirtag’ fair in May.

4. ‘Churpötsch’

Pitch: C“ + 11

Weight: approx. 290 kg

Ø 78.5 cm

Cast in 1772 by Franz Joseph Scheichel in Vienna

It was rung for the Rosary service. Its name is probably derived from a foundation of the archiepiscopal ‘Cur’ in honour of the miraculous image of Maria Pocs. Today, it rings after the Angelus at 8 p.m. for the baptismal memorial on the eve of Sunday.

5. ‘Chorglöckl’

Pitch: G’’ + 8

Weight: 212 kg

Ø 62 cm

Cast around 1280, likely by Konrad of Munich

It called the canons to the service. Also known as the ‘Little Bell of St. Stephen’. It is one of the oldest preserved bells in Vienna. It rings every Friday after the Angelus at 8 p.m. in memory of all victims of war and violence.

6. ‘Feuerin’

Pitch: E flat’ + 0

Weight: approx. 1,750 kg

Ø 140 cm

Cast in 1859 (re-cast from 1453) by Friedrich Gössner in Vienna

It was rung in the event of a fire in the city. Today, it rings every Thursday after the Angelus at 8 p.m. in memory of Christ’s fear of dying on the Mount of Olives.

Destroyed historic bells in the southern Roman Tower

The ‘Viertel Pummerin’ and the ‘Zwölferin’ were accommodated there. These bells were destroyed when the tower burned down entirely in 1945. The tower remains empty to this day.

Two historical bells are not currently rung

(instead, they have been placed as museum pieces at the foot of the ‘Pummerin’)

1. ‘Speisglocke’

Pitch: C’’

Weight: 237 kg

Ø 73.5 cm

Cast in 1746 (re-cast from 1613) by Johann Joseph Pfrenger in Vienna

was used as a mourning bell and currently has a crack

2. ‘Zügenglocke’

Pitch: E flat’’ -3

Weight: 158 kg

Ø 65 cm

Cast in 1803 (re-cast from 1707) by Bartholomäus Kaffel in Vienna

was rung when the dying were nearing the end of their lives