Thursdays 7.30 - 9.00pm
Practice at the Bell Tower
Contact: Clare Le Marie (Tower Captain) on 07919 158455
Bells summon people to church,
celebrate the joy of weddings and anniversaries,
and intones the sadness of funerals.
They are rung to mark important events such as Royal Jubilees,
great war time victories, and other special events.
In times gone by this told the local population that something important had happened.
Chiming bells by swinging them through a short arc using a rope and lever goes back to the middle ages.
In the 17th Century, ringing developed using a wheel allowing control for orderly ringing,
which is now known as change ringing.
- For a new challenge
- For getting gentle physical exercise
- To develop coordination skills
- For mental stimulation
- For joining in a team activity
- Good for all the family
- Great social activity
- Opportunity to make new friends
- Serve the church and community
- To help preserve the ancient art of church bell ringing
Would you like to ring bells?
Anyone from about 10 to 80 can learn to ring.
Many people start ringing as a new hobby in retirement.
It takes careful teaching and plenty of practice to learn the physical side of "handling" a bell.
This is usually done on an individual basis for a few weeks
until the novice is ready to join the team at the regular practice session.
As a new ringer gains complete control of their bell they start to learn the different 'methods' involved in change ringing.
This can be quite challenging mentally, but everyone can progress at their own speed and ability.
At Aldershot we practice
every Thursday from 7.30 pm to 9.00pm
We have a Tower Captain who organises the ringing and ringers.
Everyone comes along as often as they can, and we work as a team, each member ringing one bell.
We encourage ringers to watch and learn when sitting out,
but it can also be a time to chat and learn all the strange bell ringing words.
Ringing has a language of its own!
ORIGINS OF BELLRINGING
Bellringing is an activity which the English have invented
which remains almost exclusively our own and likely to stay that way.
England has more than 5,000 towers with rings of bells,
while there are only 170 in Wales, 35 in Ireland and 15 in Scotland.
The unique sound of English church bells is an evocation of both our history and our national character.
BELL ON A WHEEL
Way back in the 14th century the ringers began to experiment with new ways of hanging the bells
so that greater control could be exercised over them.
Eventually a design was evolved for mounting the bell on a wheel
so that it could rotate rather than just swing back and forth.
Consequently new methods of ringing were developed during the 17th century.
The bell on a wheel meant it was possible to change the order in which the bells were rung.
Change ringing, or mathematical precision was brought to the art
by a Cambridge printer, Fabian Stedman in the late 17th century.
Fabian Stedman worked out the number of variations possible on a given number of bells
which enabled a long series to be rung without repetition.
It works like this:
You can ring 3 bells in 6 changes
123, 213, 231, 321, 312, 132
You can ring 4 bells in 24 changes
You can ring 5 bells in 120 changes
and so on.
Change ringing on 5 bells is called Doubles
6 is Minor
7 is Triples
8 is Major
9 is Caters
10 is Royal
12 is Maximus
There are several methods, with names like Grandsire, Treble Bob and Stedman.
A peal consists of at least 5,040 change; less than that is a mere touch.
PUBS AND MONEY
By the early 1700s the ringing was being done mainly for money by local people who were not particularly tied to the church, and who were apt to adjourn to the nearest inn once their stint was done.
Hence the many pubs with names like "Six Bells".
Local events such as a marriage of two of the bell ringing team or some national occasion were accompanied by an a peal. They were silenced during WWII, because the bells were to be used to signal that the German invasion had taken place. Prime Minister Churchill did allow a peal after the Battle of Alamein in November 1942.
THE FIRST PEAL ON MINOR
The first peal in the tower was of Minor, rung on May 27th, 1912, conducted by Charles Edwards.
THE FIRST PEAL ON OCTAVE
The first peal on the octave was of Stedman Triples (half-muffled) rung on January 22nd, 1927, by
C. Hazelden 1
C.N. Burdock 2
H. Hutton 3
G.W. Steere 4
E. Weatherby 5
Sgt. G. Gilbert, R.E. 6
A.H. Pulling (cond.) 7
W.R. Melville 8
It was rung in memory of Mr. H.A. Mann,
a local ringer who collected the money and worked hard for the augmentation, completed in 1920.
The remarkable thing about this peal was the time taken - 3 hours 25 minutes, with tenor 8 1/4 cwt.!
There can be little doubt that the majority of ringers
who have, during military service, been stationed in Aldershot,
have found their way to the old Parish Church of St Michael the Archangel
and enjoyed this ground floor ring and the welcome which is characteristic of the local band.
It has been and still is a very popular and lively tower.