What is bell ringing?
“It’s just like the Mars bar advert – you pull on a rope and jump up and down!”
Remember the Mars bar advert?
Well, this isn’t quite what we do.
English Church bell ringing
involves ringing a bell hung high in a church tower.
The bell is attached to a wheel, to which a rope is tied allowing the ringer to swing it through 360 degrees. We ring the bells one after the other, starting with the smallest bell, called the treble, and ending with the largest bell, called the tenor. After the largest bell has rung the whole pattern starts again… So with 6 bells we have… 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6. This ringing of the bells down the scale is called rounds and forms the starting block for all of ringing. The treble has the highest note, and the tenor the lowest.
We can also change the order in which each bell rings, sometimes at every blow, and this can lead to some complex patterns called methods, which can both produce fantastic music and also provide a mental challenge for even the best ringers.
So, it’s as easy as pulling a rope?
Not quite. Ringing a bell, which can be any size from a few pounds to more than 4 tons, requires some element of skill. The first stage in learning how to ring is learning how to control the bell, which is high above you in the tower. When you start learning to ring an experienced ringer will teach you, and help you to master this new skill. When you have grasped the skill yourself you’ll be allowed to ring alone.
Interested in having a go?
If you would be interested in learning to ring please contact our Tower correspondent:
Join us in the pub
…for refreshments after practice!