Rutland Bell-Ringers Newsletter for November 2018

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Items for the December newsletter by Friday 30th November please, to Sue Webster


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From the Branch Treasurer

The annual Peterborough Guild Quiz sheets are available and will be circulated as soon as possible by me. £1 per sheet payable on issue of the sheet, not just when completed and entered.

The funds can be collated by tower captains and sent electronically.

Alternatively, I will arrange to collect cash/cheques from the captains in due course.

Simon Forster - Rutland Branch Treasurer


Work safely! - assess the risks

Does someone know you are amongst the bells?

A reminder! This may be obvious to everyone, but following any ringing for Remembrance services on November 11th, the bells must be brought down to remove the muffles, ahead of any afternoon ringing.

When bells are rung half-muffled, it is usual to muffle the backstroke.

When the bell is down, fix the muffle firmly, so that it cannot turn, on the side of the clapper ball away from the rope pulley.

Then check all the bells again to make sure that all the muffles are fitted on the same side!

Note that if a bell goes up the "wrong" way it will have to be corrected before you start ringing!

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Services of Remembrance and Ringing across Rutland on 11 November 2018

On 11 November 2018 is the Centenary of the end of WW1 and across the world services of remembrance will be held, when the horrors of war and the lives given (that subsequent generations may have the opportunity to live in peace) are remembered.

During those wars, in the first half of the 20th Century, the bells in our churches were silent unless there was an emergency or invasion in which case they would be used as an alarm. So imagine the joy when at 7.05pm on 11 November 1918 word was received in UK the war was over. The bells then rang out not as an alarm but giving notice of a great event – peace at last.

Whilst cities, towns and villages across the country hold their normal Service of Remembrance, this year the aim is the bells in all Rutland Branch (includes Harringworth, Northamptonshire) will be rung during the day. Some will be muffled for ringing before 12.30pm, and there will be unmuffled ringing after 12.30pm.
Then at 7.05pm, nine towers from Rutland Branch, who have registered with The Battle’s Over Pageant, and are recognised as part of over 1,000 towers across the country all “pulling off” together, will be ringing.

It should be anyone standing outside at that time will hear bells somewhere in the Rutland countryside.

Similar to other branches, in Rutland we have encouraged new ringers to learn to handle bells and be a part of the Battle’s Over ringing. It has been a great delight seeing learners develop their skills in bell handling and then ringing rounds and call changes. Well done and we thank them for giving their me to learn and join the countrywide commemoration.

Some 1,400 bellringers died during WW1 and it appears more than 1,400 have learned to ring during 2018. Well done to everyone involved including the teachers and supporters who have rung lots of rounds to allow the learners to have rope time and so partake on 11 November.

Below is the Battle’s Over programme of countrywide events and on an article written by Chris O’Mahoney.

Thank you to branch ringers who are ensuring all tower bells will be rung next Sunday 11 November, and to Oakham, Uppingham, Langham, Hambledon, Empingham, Cottesmore, Barrowden, Bisbrooke (handbells maybe?) and Harringworth for ringing at 7.05pm and so covering Rutland with the sound of bells.

Alan Wordie Chair, Rutland Branch

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The sound of bells ringing is deeply rooted in British culture. Bells provide the grand soundtrack to our historic moments, calling us to wake, to pray, to work, to arms, to feast, to celebrate and, in mes of crisis, to come together.

The early missionaries used small handbells to call people to worship, with bells being introduced into Christian churches around 400 AD.

Following the Reformation, many churches began to use a new technology of bells mounted on a whole wheel, which gave greater control, with the final refinement of a ‘stay’ and ‘slider’ to be able to ‘set’ the bell. The ringer could now rotate the bells 360 degrees and stop and start the ringing at will.

Competition developed for who had the most bells, and there was increased interest from lay people, who took over the belfry from the clergy. Rules evolved and ‘changes’ could be learned by heart to create patterns where the bells are never sounded in the same order twice. These compositions were named ‘methods’, often titled after the cities they were first rung in such as Norwich, London and Cambridge.

By the middle of the 18th century the ability to stand for three hours to ring a peal of 5040 changes was common, with a crowd of listeners eager to hear. Today bells ring out in the English style across the world.

During the First World War c1400 bell ringers lost their lives in service of their country. The Great War Memorial Book of Church Bell-Ringers who fell in the war is on display near the ringing chamber at St Paul’s Cathedral, London. It bears the following inscription:

“They whom this book commemorates were numbered among those, who, at the call of King and Country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out of the sight of men by the path of duty and self- sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others might live in freedom.”

At the end of the war the bells rang out across the country to celebrate the coming of peace, and have followed in that celebratory role ever since. 95% of bells in the UK ‘rang in’ the Millennium, a bell announced the opening of the London Olympics in 2012 and, as part of the Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, a floating belfry with eight bells led the Thames Pageant of 1,000 boats.

In 2017 a ring of 8 bells was installed at St George’s Memorial Chapel in Ypres, whose bell tower has stood empty due to lack of funds since the chapel was built in 1927. The project has cost £250,000 in total, but there has been no trouble raising those funds - the fallen of the Great War are not easily forgotten, and the sound of bells ringing out both in commemoration and to celebrate peace is clearly still as important to many as it was in 1918.

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