Some Basic Details About Bellringing

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The art of bellringing has been practised for many hundreds of years. Change ringing however, originated in England in the 17th Century. This was only possible because the bells were hung in such a way to enable them to ring "full circle" (through 360 degrees). Many other places across the world have Church bells but they are generally rung by chiming, where a hammer hits the bell. The bellropes are attached to the bell wheel which gives sufficient leverage to enable the bell to swing full circle. This method of ringing enables the ringer to control the bell thus enabling various changes (permutations) to be rung.

A bell hung for Change Ringing

A bell hung for change ringing

Change Ringing

"Change Ringing" is the term used when a peal of bells is rung in varying orders to a pre-determined "method" or tune. The objective is to ring as many different permutations of the order of the bells as possible. The simplest pattern is rounds, where the bells are rung down the scale from the lightest to the heaviest:

1 2 3 4 5 6 ...
1 2 3 4 5 6 ...

Methods are the tunes that bellringers use. The order in which the bells ring is varied to a set pattern - the "method". Methods can be rung on different numbers of bells and have names like 'Grandsire Doubles' and 'Superlative Surprise Major' (with the first part being the name of the method and the second part meaning the number of bells it is rung on, e.g. Doubles = 5 bells, Minor = 6 bells, Triples = 7 bells, Major = 8 bells etc.).