Learn to Ring

Bell Ropes

Most towers in the Guild need new recruits. the lucky ones may have a waiting list.

  • See if one of your local towers is already advertising for recruits.
  • Contact the Guild who can suggest a tower near you where you could visit and, if you like the look of the setup, arrange to learn.

Training varies from informal 1-1 lessons to more structured schemes – some towers use the recently-introduced “Learning the Ropes” scheme.

The key first stages are:
  • Bell handling

Bell handling means learning how to pull the rope to make the bell swing through a full circle, come to rest and swing in the opposite direction to its starting position  This is essential for your own (and other ringers safety) as even small bells are many times heavier than the ringer. Good technique is also important so that you can make your bell strike at exactly the right moment, within a fraction of a second.

  • Rounds

Once you can ring a bell on your wn the next stage is to ring in time with other bells. In rounds the bells are rung down the scale, starting from the smallest to the largest bell. On eight bells this is 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8. You have to adjust the speed of your ringing to match the others and keep the gaps between the bells even.

  • Call changes

In call changes you change places with another bell by each varying the speed you ring. One ringer calls the instructions to the others.

Some musical changes have special names;

13572468 is Queens

12756468 is Whittingtons

  • Leading

The first bell in each row of changes is leading. To learn to lead you need to already have not only good bell control but also be able to watch and listen so that you pull at the right time just after the row befor has finished.

  • Plain hunt

In plain hunting you change the speed at which you ring to allow you follow a different bell at each stroke. You usually start on a small number of bells and work up to higher numbers. Plain hunt on six bells looks like this.Plain hunt on 5

  • Ringing a bell up and down

When ringing changes a bell is rung with its mouth facing up. In most towers the bells are left mouth downwards for safety. A ringer also has to learn how to raise and lower a bell, first on your on and then in time with other ringers.

The next stage is Method Ringing.

Ringing around the Lake District