Bellringing – Some Myths Exploded
Ringers are often heard but rarely seen. You might have come across some myths about ringers, but they are mostly untrue, so to put the record straight, here is the reality!
- Bells are hardly ever rung by machine (except a few tunes and clock chimes). In the tower, is a band of skilled ringers helping to carry on a 400 year old tradition and bring you that unique sound of English style ringing.
- There’s a lot more to ringing than ‘pulling a rope’. Controlling a bell for full circle ringing requires considerable skill. Change ringing is an activity that can provide endless fascination, and even become quite addictive.
- Ringers represent the whole range of society, male and female, old and young, and from all walks of life. Ringing is a genuine all-age activity, and you are judged by your ability, not your social standing, whether you are 8, 18 or 80. The ringers at All Saints are typical of many bands.
- You don't have to be a Christian to ring. Many ringers are members of their church, but others are not. They include people of other faiths and none. They are happy to give their service to the Church and the Community in return for the rewards they get from the ringing itself. The modern Church supports many activities that involve the community outside its own members.
- You can learn to ring at any age. Teenagers probably find it easiest, but many ringers these days learn in their 40s, 50s or 60s.
- You don’t need to be strong to be a ringer. Bell control is all about timing and rhythm, not brute strength. The more skilful you are, the less force you need, because of the way the bell works.
- Ringing is not normally hard work, unless ringing very heavy or badly hung bells. Watch a skillful ringer, and you will see a smooth, almost effortless performance. Bell control is all about skill – feeling and timing.
- Ringers don't expect to get taken up by the rope. It is possible, but it is so rare that most ringers have never even seen it. If you ever see a picture or film of someone swinging on a rope, they are not real ringers. Don't believe everything you see on television!
- Ringers rarely call themselves campanologists. Literally, campanology means the study of bells. Some ringers do study bells as well as ringing them, but first and foremost they are just bellringers.