Peddle Bell Tower
Thirty-six stunning bronze bells in the new Peddle Bell Tower ring out a message of inspiration in the daily life of a great American public university.
The crowning touch of the Paris-Yates Chapel is the Peddle Bell Tower and its carillon. Cast in a Dutch foundry, the bells are connected by cables to a keyboard at the base of the tower. The keys permit a carillonneur to perform on the instrument that also can be operated by a computerized, automatic system to ring out the hour and half hour, and special music such as The University of Mississippi alma mater. The bells play a group of songs daily at 5 p.m.
The bell tower and carillon are a gift to the university from Frank and Marge Peddle of Oxford. The tremendous contribution to the campus environment speaks passionately of their love for Ole Miss, their love of music, and their desire to provide an atmosphere of reflection for students and others. Marge Peddle recalls being impressed as a child with the bell tower at Wellesley College, where she traveled to visit a relative. As adults, the Peddles have admired many bell towers on various campuses and have filled their home with grandfather and other clocks. The ticking of a clock serves as the pulse of a home, Marge said, adding that clocks remind people, even in the still of the night, that life continues on and on.
Additionally, Frank Peddle plays the piano, and the couple’s Oxford home features several types of pianos. Many kinds of music are enjoyed and appreciated by the couple. With all this in mind while serving on the Chapel Committee, Marge became interested in seeing a bell tower and carillon built and installed at Ole Miss.
The Peddles’ hope is that the beautiful bell tower and carillon music will inspire people – particularly students – to meditate on life and their lives, and really see the extraordinary campus that surrounds them.
“These magnificent bells are for everyone, especially young people,” Marge said.
The couple met in 1949, when Frank was an Ole Miss student and a member of the first Navy Reserve Officers class. The New York and Pennsylvania natives were married in 1951, and after Frank’s tour of duty in the service, they returned to Oxford. The two call living in the home city of Ole Miss the “best experience of their lives.”
The Peddles are parents to daughters Laura Peddle Sarthou of Oxford and Virginia Peddle Pace of Germantown, Tenn., both Ole Miss graduates. Recently, one of the Peddles’ five grandchildren, Marjorie Alice Windham Coleman (a graduate of the Ole Miss School of Law), was married in the Paris-Yates Chapel with the bells ringing in the Peddle Bell Tower. The couple, who were happy that their granddaughter chose a setting that means so much to the entire family, remembers feeling “great joy” during the marriage ceremony.
Marge and Frank Peddle also find themselves feeling great contentment when they pass the chapel and bell tower on a regular basis, take in the amazing visual experience the striking structures offer, hear the music, and witness students taking out time from their challenging academic schedules in the garden area of the complex.