The surprising world of bell ringing!
This information is designed to give you a first introduction to what we do in the bell tower.
Bell ringing in the English fashion (campanology, to use the smart name) is a centuries-old art, which has its origins in mediaeval times. The advent of full-circle ringing, as it is practised today, occurred sometime during the sixteenth century.
If you are interested in having a go we will show you the bells, static and in action, and describe the various aspects of this; we will then teach you (over a period of some weeks) how to handle a bell safely and confidently. After that, you will be able to take part in ringing with others and become integrated little by little. Initially, we will teach you to ring using a “tied” bell, as your ability increases, we encourage you to join our full practice. At some point you will cease to be a ‘beginner’, but please bear in mind the initial learning process is lengthy, and requires regular attendance; the enjoyment you will gain later will be well worth the effort!
The great thing about ringing is that you can progress as far as you wish – there is always something new to attempt – or you can decide when you have progressed far enough. Either way, you will find just as much pleasure and enjoyment, both from the ringing and also from the new friendships you make. You will also find that, wherever you may be in this country, if ringing is taking place, you will be able to join in; in fact you will be welcomed with open arms!
Why do we do it? Primarily we ring as a service to the church. Also we find ringing a pleasurable hobby to be enjoyed with others. This, of course, does indicate a commitment on your part; the weekly programme at Eckington is as follows:
Sunday. We ring before the morning service: 9.00 – 9.30 am and occasionally before the evening service 5.45 – 6.30 p.m. Whilst we don’t expect you to ring for every service we do expect that you will ring on most Sundays.
Monday. We may hold beginners’ sessions from 7.30 to 8.30. It is important to attend promptly, as this is the only time we are currently allowing for beginners.
Thursday. Is our practice night, we start at 7.30 when beginners are welcome to watch and hopefully join in. The practice finishes at about 9.15 p.m. and we like to reserve as much of the final hour for the more experienced ringing practice.
Also, we are sometimes asked to ring for weddings and other special occasions, and we assemble a team to cover these as and when required. On such occasions, we sometimes enlist the help of ringers from other churches, and in return we help elsewhere whenever we are able. We treat this as outside the normal expectation, and you should not feel obliged to commit yourself if it is not convenient. (We usually receive a small fee on these occasions…)
Meetings. Ringing meetings are held regularly in the area, at which we meet ringers from other churches and ring with them. These are usually held under the auspices of a Ringing Association (or Guild), and are very friendly occasions.
Social. Outings are arranged from time to time, to ring at churches further afield. These can be very enjoyable, and apart from the ringing, get you into the parts of the country that others don’t reach! We also have social occasions, which don’t include ringing; for example, quiz nights, car treasure hunt, informal and formal evenings out.