Bell ringing

Bells have long called people to worship and announced celebrations.

Introduction to Church bell ringing?

You have here a real British folk art, for bells have been the voices of the Church almost ever since Christianity began, and the method of ringing as you find it now has been practiced for almost 400 years.  These voices, which come from our Cathedrals and Churches, may be those of small high-sounding bells weighing little more than a hundredweight up to monsters of several tonnes.

Our tower
In 1775, the steeple of the old Alvaston Church fell, and a new tower was built. This tower stood with the old Church until 1856, when it was taken down and the present Church erected on the site at a cost of £2,200. The tower is approximately 20m high, with a choir vestry at ground level and an organ at gallery level. The ringing chamber and clock cabinet are reached by ascending a spiral stairway in the north-east corner of the tower. The belfry is situated above the ringing chamber and contains a peal of six bells presented by Mr W Bradshaw of Alvaston Court to the church in memory of the late Mr G B Mills. The total 3 ton weight is made up of :

 BELLS

cwt

Qrs

lbs

 Treble

 5

1

22

2nd

6

2

15

3rd

8

0

25

4th

9

2

5

5th

12

3

10

Tenor

17

1

3

in the key of F

These are from the well-known foundry of Messrs. Taylor & Co. in Loughborough.

http://www.taylorbells.co.uk/

Ringing the changes

In the 17th century the practice of turning the bell full circle with rope and wheel to make it speak with its fullest tone was developed.  From this evolves the art of not merely ringing a fixed pattern of notes, but of changing the order so that an almost infinite variety of different note patterns can be obtained.  In any piece of ringing the order is never repeated, hence we really are 'ringing the changes'.

The bells are rung regularly either before the Sunday morning service or on special occasions; the ringing team also visit other churches to ring. They generally meet for a ringing practice on Monday evenings from 7 until 9pm.

We currently have 13 regular ringers ranging from 17 to 80 years of age. 11 are members of the association of church bellringers.

 

 

Why do ringers ring?

A ringer will find many reasons why he or she does it, but chiefly because it is a service to the Church, for every time we ring we are proclaiming that we speak from a living Church, that we are 'open for business'. The ringer finds in the belfry a companionship, a sense of team spirit, a musical and rhythmic satisfaction, a useful form of exercise (though never really exhausting), a physical and intellectual challenge and probably many other rewards as well, though too numerous to mention here. When a ringer visits any other town or village which has bells, he/she will find there a warm welcome and immediate friendship.


 

Gracious Lord, the source of all skill and beauty,

who hast entrusted to us Your servants,

the sounding of Your praise and call to worship,

grant us strength, skill and perseverance,

that we may faithfully perform this work to Your honour and glory.

 

May these bells awaken in the heart of those who hear them,

the desire to worship You with Your church,

that faith and devotion may increase in all people,

through Jesus Christ , our Lord.

Amen

 

 

Would you like to try?

You are more than welcome to come and have a go! You will find it is never too early or too late to start, for ringers include young and old, men and women, boys and girls. Sometimes a whole family can be found ringing together.  If your curiosity has been aroused, seek an introduction either before the Sunday service or on a practice night. Full training is given to complete novices. Come along and see - you are not obliged to have a go straight away!



There is a call - the Church could use YOU - why don't you answer it?
Ian Webb
For more information, contact Ian via the contact us page.

 

An illustrated book is available from Ian documenting the history and development of bell ringing at St Michael and All Angels church, Alvaston.
 

 


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