Bellringers of the Bicester Branch ring the church bells in Bicester and the surrounding villages for church services and special occasions. Bellringing (or Campanology) is a skill which can be learnt in a few hours, but takes months or years to become a master. Anyone who is physically fit, aged 8 to 80 can be a bellringer. Bellringing is a team effort, usually involving 6 or 8 people at a time and as such bellringing is a social hobby enjoyed by around a hundred people in the Bicester area, and by thousands throughout the country. Furthermore, ringers from other areas are always welcome to visit and join in ringing our bells.
Returning to Ringing – Advice and Guidance from the Guild Secretary
The current round of Harvest Festivals has triggered the resumption of services at more churches and we have heard of more towers that have rung again. This will remind people that the church is there and remind them that the silence was only temporary! Some have rung handbells where the tower bells cannot be used.
The year is moving on, and the Ringing World shop at has seasonal items in stock https://www.ringingworld.co.uk/purchase/shop/calendar.html, hopefully including diaries by the time you read this. The Central Council guidance is updated every Friday at https://cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus/. The key metrics haven’t changed this week, but the Central Council has recently got extra skilled resource looking at the detail of the ringing environment in the hope of identifying and justifying further relaxations that the CofE will accept. We must be grateful for CCCBR’s efforts on our behalf. You can play your part in this effort by keeping in touch with your local clergy and spreading the word about the benefits of ringing and the importance of restoring ringing to both ringers and the church as a whole.
Some are uncertain as to what can be rung that is safe, musical and hopefully enjoyable. This depends on the individual tower as well as the ringers. For instance 2, 4, 6 of a six sounds nice and bright whereas 1, 3, 5 of a six is mournful and may be suitable if you have an All Souls Service around 1st or 2nd November. If you are lucky to have a family group of three, you could try 1, 3, 4, 5 of an eight (think of Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto) or 2, 4, 5, 6 of a six. The mournful equivalent for an All Souls or Remembrance service is 1, 3, 4, 5 of a six. Any towers looking for advice on safe chiming, musical combinations or refresher sessions for safe ringing may contact email@example.com
The three overriding requirements remain, namely:
- The local church wardens and clergy must have agreed
- Ringing in Church of England churches is on the condition that it is in accordance with the guidance at https://cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus/, and
- The tower must be well ventilated and must be inspected and risk assessed if the bells haven’t rung for a considerable time). Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details
It would be good to hear back from towers with their experiences and how they are returning to ringing. Please send any stories to email@example.com
Katie, Ken, Stuart & Tony – Guild Officers