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  • Writer's picturetinawatson

Ding! Dong!.....

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.

The Bell Tower...where the action is!

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:-

I'm crying!!

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.

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.

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