The Bell Ringers
New ringers are always welcome. Practice (and training) is on Friday evenings from 7:30 to 9:15pm and ringing on Sundays is 10:30-11:00am and 6:00-6:30pm.
For further information, contact David Misdeldine (01276) 505923
About church bell ringing
Church bell ringing is a thriving ancient English art that still plays an important part in community life.
Nationally there are about 40,000 ringers who regularly ring for Sunday services as well as for special occasions, anniversaries and weddings. But more ringers are always needed. Everyone is welcome to learn, no matter what their age or abilities. So if you are interested, read on.
The present method of ringing began in England in the 17th century. Before this bells were rung randomly, as still happens on the continent. Now bells were mounted on full wheels, allowing them to rotate through a full 360 degrees to produce each sound. This revolutionary approach meant that heavy bells could be precisely controlled with minimal physical effort. This heralded the start of ‘change ringing’, the ringing of bells in pre-defined patterns
How a bell is rung
Initially the bell mouth faces downwards. In this position the bell is said to be “down”. By pulling on the rope, which is attached to the wheel, the bell is gradually swung higher and higher.
When the bell swings round so far that the mouth faces upwards, it can be brought to rest or “stood”. Now the bell is said to be “up” and is ready for ringing.
With each pull of the rope the bell rotates a full circle, first one way and then the other. These two pulls, or strokes are given different names, the “backstroke” and the “handstroke”. At the end of each revolution the bell sounds once. (See a bell ringing.)
Call changes to methods
The bells start by ringing down the scale 1 2 3 4 5 6. This is called “Rounds”. To vary the tune, one of the ringers, the Conductor, will call a change in the order e.g. “3 follow 1″ would produce 1 3 2 5 4 6, then perhaps “5 follow 2″ giving 1 3 2 5 4 6. This is known as “Call Changes”.
Over the years, ringers have devised patterns such that each bell changes its position by no more than one place every time it rings. This system of arranging the changes is called “Method Ringing”.
There are many methods which vary from the simple to the very complex. Ringers memorise these methods by learning the “line”.
The maximum number of changes possible on 5 bells is 120 which take about 5 minutes to ring. On 12 bells there are 479,001,600 different changes. To ring all these would take 37 years, so you can see that method ringing can present some interesting challenges!