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This year All Saints Day fell on a Saturday, and since we always try to ring something special for All Saints tide, we rang a peal – a continuous performance of at least 5,000 changes. If you came within earshot of the church on that morning you no doubt heard the ringing.
On our bells a peal takes a little under 3 hours. This one took 2 hours 49 mins but since the bells were rehung peals have ranged from 2 hours 45 to 3 hours 5. Ringing a peal is a signiificant undertaking, which is why we don’t do it very often.
When we ring a special performance (ie public ringing other than for services) we put posters outside so that people know why we are ringing and how long we expect to go on. The posters also say what method(s) we are ringing. They used not to until a member of the congregation complained that she would like to know. When I explained that it wouldn’t mean anything to a non-ringer, she replied ‘I know I won’t understand, but I still like to know what it’s called’. Ever since, we have included the name of the method(s) being rung, which in this case was Yorkshire Surprise Major. (Yorkshire is the name given by the first people who rang it, Surprise is the method type or ‘family’ and Major means an 8 bell method.)
John Harrison (Nov 2014)
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