Have you ever thought of trying the art of bell ringing?
Anyone from 11 years upwards could be a ringer (children under the age of 16 must have an adult accompanying them).
Come along to either St Giles or St Margarets’ on a practice night (see below) and have a go – we would be delighted to see you.
Practice: Thursday evenings between 7.00 pm and 8.30 pm
Service Ringing: Sunday 10.20 am
Tel: 07719 040799
Practice: Friday evenings between 5.45 pm and 7.15 pm
Service Ringing: Sunday 8.40 am
Mrs Joan Badger
9 Blanche Lane
Tel: 01707 645 866
A bit more about Bell-Ringing (Campanology)
In the sixteenth century church bells began to be hung on big wheels, this enabled ringers to fit in with other ringers to weave patterns known as methods or bell ringing tunes. Both Ridge and South Mymms need more ringers. Although we ring before services people of any faith or none are welcome to ring and may leave before the service starts.
Many universities have ringing groups, joining one of these helps you to get around a new area and meet local people. Ringers often visit other churches, go on ringing holidays and often see places you would never visit. If you move what better way of settling into a new community than going along to a ringing practice.
When anyone first comes to bell ringing there are a number of words to learn and their meanings.
Let us start in the belfry that is where the bells are hung in a metal or in the case of St Giles’ a large oak framework.
The bell hangs down from a head-stock with it’s mouth facing the floor and up inside is the clapper. The clapper has a shaft, a ball and a flight. When the bell is rung the ball hits the inside of the bell and makes the sound.
The headstock pivots at either end on gudgeon pins attached to the framework. At one side a piece of straight grained ash stands up from the headstock, this is called a stay. At the other end there is a big wooden wheel to which a rope is attached to the middle of the spokes then comes out through a small hole (garter hole) in the wall of the wheel, drops through a wooden pulley box and down through the belfry floor. Beneath the bell near the floor is a piece of wood attached to the frame called a slider which pivots so that the wood can be pushed to and fro by the stay.
The stay and the slider are very important, can you guess why?
The answer:- If the stay or slider were broken or taken away the rotation of the bell would be full circle causing the rope to be wound round the wheel. The rope would get shorter and if the ringer did not let go he/she would be lifted off the floor. When the stay meets the slider it turns the bell back and stops it going right round. If one obeys the rules this should not happen. Anyone who has not had bellringing tuition should never touch a bell rope.
Now what happens in the room where we actually ring the bells, the rope has a fluffy part about 60cms long of various colours. This is called the sally and if we pull that down we call it the hand stroke. This sally is about 2 metres from the bottom end of the rope. The bottom 50cms of the rope is turned back up and tucked through the rope. We call this loop the tail end and if we pull on that part it is called the back stroke.We never let go of the tail end but we pull the end of the rope then pull the sally as well.
Learners are desperately needed at Ridge and South Mymms so why not come to see what we do, when we are practising at St Giles’
A cheap hobby, very sociable and great for visiting so many lovely villages.