Updated: Aug 6, 2022
A banner went up in the middle of my village which caught my eye.
"Learn to ring Pewsey's bells".... who is not going to want to do that? - probably a few people but those of us so inclined seized the opportunity.
So my journey began, on 23rd January 2018 I turned up, actually I staggered up, there are 42 spiral steps to climb, at St John's Church in Pewsey.
I was greeted by the marvellous Tower Captain (yes, they have titles) Chris Wardell, other member of Milton Band (Pewsey Band having but one member) and a few more shiny-faced want-to-be bellringers.
A quick introduction and off they went - 'raising the bells'
The video above is a great demonstration but I MUST share with you a screenshot of part of the video with the Screen Caption turned on:-
Actually, not a bad shout - you do have a huge lump of metal the weight of a small car suspended above your head, attached to a rope!
Bells up, ready to ring, you are presented with the end of the rope whilst your experienced teacher handles the furry bit called the Sally. http://wiki.changeringing.co.uk/Sally
What could possibly go wrong? First some terminology:
Some terms you will frequently come across whilst you are ringing:
Sally - The woolen handle on the bell rope.
Tail - The length of rope below the sally.
Stay - a length of wood at the top of the bell which prevents the bell from rotating more than one revolution in either direction.
Stand - bring the bell safely to rest against the stay.
'Look to' - Be prepared to ring your bell. The bell should be pulled from the stay to the balance point ready to ring.
Rounds - Where the bells are rung repeatedly in sequence from the highest pitched bell to the lowest.
'Call changes' - Where the bells are called by a conducter to ring in a different order.
Method - A pre-determined pattern the bells should ring in. Each bell will ring faster, or slower or at normal speed in order to follow the required pattern.
'That's all' - return to ringing rounds at the end of a method.
'Hand Stroke' - When the 'Sally' is pulled.
'Back Stroke' or 'Tail Stroke' - When the 'Tail' is pulled.
Armed with the above information and clasping my 'Tail' I am warned to "never let go of the Tail"
....... to be continued.