- Bell ringing is a thriving ancient English art - there are about 40,000 ringers nationwide who ring regularly for Sunday services.
- There are over 5,000 churches in England with bell towers, 166 in Wales, 35 in Ireland and 16 in Scotland.
There are nearly 70 towers with bells in Surrey alone.
- Bell ringing is FUN - you do not need great strength!
- The present method of ringing began in the 17th century when churches restored bells that had been lost or destroyed during the dissolution of the monasteries. Before this, bells were chimed randomly, as still happens on the Continent.
- Bells rotate through 360 degrees to produce each sound.
- Sometimes ringers ring non-stop for maybe 3 hours (or more!). This is called a "peal'.
Each time the bells are rung they appear in a different order.
A 'quarter peal' is similar and lasts for about 45 minutes.
- There are 24 different combinations of ringing 4 bells: (4x3x2x1)
There are 720 different combinations on 6 bells.
There are 40,320 different combinations on 8 bells.
On 12 bells there are 479,001,600 different changes: (12x11x10x9 etc).
If a band of ringers rang every combination of changes on 12 bells, they would be ringing for 37 years!
- There are many ringing social events - especially outings to ring at other towers in the country.
- Bell ringers are very friendly! Wherever you are in the country, ringers visiting other towers on practice night will be made welcome.
- Liverpool Cathedral boasts the heaviest tenor bell in the country, weighing just over 4.5 tons.
- Bell ringing is very complex - if you start to ring as a teenager you can have a life-time of learning in front of you!
February 2004 - Tower Captain