St Mary and St Gabriel
Sharing the love of God
There is a very informative short video which shows bell ringers in action and being taught. This was created as part of the campaign to recruit Bell Ringers for the Coronation of King Charles III. You can view it here.
Your first lessons will concentrate on developing the skills to handle a bell; the technique to control the bell using the rope. This is done on a one-to-one basis with your trained instructor. This initial skill can take 10 to 15 hours of tuition to acquire.
Once you can handle a bell safely and competently, you will start to learn how to ring with others and move on to call changes and simple methods. Once you get the hang of these you will naturally progress to more complex ringing.
In this position the bell is ‘down’
The bell is attached to the headstock which is fixed
to the wheel.
The headstock runs on bearings carried by the frame.
The stay is also fixed to the headstock.
Before ringing, the bell is ‘rung up’ and ‘set’ with its mouth uppermost.
In this position, the bell can be held by the stay just
beyond the point of balance (beyond top dead centre).The bell is now at ‘hand-stroke’.
When the ringer gets the signal from the ringer whose bell sounds before his, he gives his bell a gentle pull to start it on its downward path.
When the bell has swung almost completely round, the stay
can again stop the movement at ‘back-stroke' with the bell mouth uppermost.
Bells are numbered No.1 for the Treble up to No.6 for the Tenor.
The simplest form of ringing is rounds - 1 2 3 4 5 6 in a continuous loop. This is how beginners start, leaning how to control the bell so that there is an even gap between each bell without clashing.
From this point, the Conductor can move the bells around by calling one bell in front of the other - for example 1 3 2 4 5 6.
Tunes or patterns can be called, for example Queens where the order is 1 3 5 2 4 6
Change ringing is more complex where bells form patterns. The simplest of these is called Plain Hunt. The top diagram shows the rows of changes in plain hunt, starting from rounds and ending in rounds.
The five drawings below show the individual work of each bell. The bell moves places in accordance with the blue line and follows (rings after) the bell to the left that is coloured Black. The columns represent the places, the left column is 'leading', then moving towards the right. The next column is '2nds Place', then '3rd Place' etc. The No.6 (Tenor) bell remains in the right-hand column, covering in 6th Place - i.e. at the back. Notice that bells 1 to 5 all do the same shaped Blue line but start from different places upon it.
This may seem complicated but actually it is relatively easy once you are used to call changes and knowing the position of your bell.
There are thousands of different ways of generating
the changes that can be rung.
With six bells, the number of changes can be 720 without repeating the pattern. Visiting ringers often ring a quarter peal which is a long length of ringing, typically 1250 changes without repetition. A full peal, often rung for special occasions, has 5040 changes and takes up to 3 hours.
We look forward to hearing the bells across the country ringing out for the Coronation of King Charles III.