News from the Bell Tower - December 2018

It has been a few months now since there was any news from the bell tower. We have, of course, continued to be busy practising on Fridays and ringing for the Sunday morning service; I hope that you have heard us!

We currently have 11 ringers though, unfortunately, work and other commitments mean that we are rarely all together at the same time. As we have 6 bells, we need at least 6 ringers in the tower to ring properly and, for the most part, we achieve that.

A few weeks ago, three of us joined in a Stroud Branch ringing tour around Ledbury. There were about 30 ringers in all and we rang (taking it in turns) at Bromesberrow, Ledbury, Bosbury, Coddington and Colwall—each tower having quite different bells (ranging from 6 to 10 in number and up to 22 cwt in weight at the heaviest). Ringing in different towers helps to broaden one’s skill and experience in handling bells as well as give the opportunity to visit some beautiful churches; two of these towers were quite unusual as they were separate from the church. There are actually a lot of ringers who spend all their time ‘tower grabbing’ - that is, ringing in as many different towers as possible all over the country, if not all over the world, and keeping a record of all those where they have rung.

We are continuing to try to focus on our striking as well make progress in ‘method ringing’; good striking means that, to the outside listener, the bells will be regular and have an even gap between each one. Method ringing involves ringing the bells in a prescribed pattern (there are thousands and thousands of these) in time with the other ringers—therefore, ringing faster or slower at times so as to alter the order in which the bells strike. As reported in July, we were the branch winners of the summer striking competition and we are therefore due to represent the branch at the Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association striking competition next April.

In October, two weeks were designated ‘Quarter Peal Fortnight’ and a large number of quarter peals (each lasting about 45 minutes and comprising 1260 changes) were arranged in the Stroud area as well as throughout the whole county. I rang in four of these—each one an opportunity for an individual ringer to ring a quarter peal for the first time in the company of more experienced ringers.

I was very sorry to miss ringing for the funeral of Glynnis Mayes; I was told that the muffled ringing and tolling were outstanding, so many thanks are due to the 3 Minch ringers (Tony, Paul and David) and 3 from elsewhere in the branch who rang.

Angie Ayling