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When English style ringing evolved in the 16th century it played an important role in the life of the community. The joyous sound of ringing celebrated important events – locally (like weddings, fairs, the assizes or the squire’s homecoming) and nationally (like Oak Apple Day, Guy Faulkes, military victories, etc).
Ringing wasn’t restricted to announcing services and in fact there were long periods prior to the mid 19th century when ringing for services was banned, with a solitary bell being tolled instead.
The Victorian reforms of the late 19th century changed all that and brought ringers more closely into the life of the Church. This was so successful that most people now see ringing as just an adjunct of the Church, and unless they are interested in the Church they hear ringing as part of the background rather than as the pulse of community life. Few people are aware of the much greater role that ringing used to play, and as a result there is less community ringing now than there was in former times.
However, most people still expect to hear ringing as part of major national celebrations like the Diamond Jubilee, and at All Saints we like to keep these traditions alive. Last year we rang for the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Accession in February and over the Jubilee weekend in June (which wasn’t the 60th anniversary of anything). This year we rang a quarter peal on Sunday 2nd June, which was 60 years to the day since the Queen was crowned.
We were not alone. Nationwide, 370 peals and quarter peals were rung to mark the anniversary of the Coronation, with about half of them being rung on the day itself.
John Harrison (June 2013)
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