“If all the bells in England were rung at the same time there would scarcely be a single spot where a bell could not be heard.” Bishop Latimer, 1552.
To most people the ringing of church bells is a medieval mystery, as incomprehensible as the Theory of Relativity, yet practised by simple country folk. It is a straightforward matter to achieve competence in ringing a bell, but learning never stops. And that is a part of its fascination. Bellringing in England is unique, well, almost, because the method of hanging the bells is peculiar to Britain, and allows the speed of ringing to be changed at will. Hence, the term ‘change ringing’. Each church bell tower has a ‘Tower Captain’ and a band of ringers, mainly local. They are a dedicated band and turn up regularly on Thursday evenings for practice. They are always practising, and have achieved a commendable competence in the simpler methods such as ’rounds’ and ‘called changes’, and ‘Plain Hunting’ which is the basis of all the more complex methods. We have used the word ‘unique’ in the first paragraph, but it also describes the good fellowship, the camaraderie, and the dedication of the ringers, who are always ready to welcome newcomers. Young or old, male or female, parishioner or living beyond the boundaries, you would be welcome to see what goes on at practice on Thursday evenings. Come along to look, to listen, maybe to handle a rope, or even to see the bells, just for the experience, without commitment.
Contact Jane Rosam (janerosam(at)googlemail.com) for further details