Frequently Asked Questions - All FAQs
One of the great things about bellringing is the teamwork. You have to ring in time with the rest of the band. By joining the Guild you will increase the chances you have of becoming a more capable ringer and therefore your enjoyment of ringing. You can attend our meetings, where you are likely to find other ringers that will help you to ring the more complicated methods that you will inevitably wish to learn. You can access our training facilities. We have a team of belfry advisors and you can ask them about how to look after your bell installation.
Most of all, you get great enjoyment out of being with a group of people with a common interest.
To join the Guild all you need to be able to do is to ring rounds unaided and ring regularly at a tower within the Diocese of Coventry.
You need to complete an Application from here, including obtaining the signatures of a proposor and a seconder who are already members of the Guild and send it to your District Secretary, along with a year's subscripton. You can be nominated for membership at any Guild or District event and can bring the form and subscription there, if this is more convenient to you.
Visiting ringers are very welcome to join in any of our events, except the Ringing Competition - this being for members only.
Please do put your name(s) in for tea beforehand in order to ensure that there is enough to go around.
Details will be on the website calendar.
Most bellringers see the main purpose of being a bellringer is to ring for the main Sunday service(s). It is nice if you attend this service, but it is by no means compulsory in the vast majority of churches. This ringing usually lasts for 30 minutes or more before the service.
There often a practice on one evening each week, typically between 7.30 and 9.00pm.
There will be plenty of opportunities to do more if you wish to.
Like many things, the more you do the quicker you progress; though please do contact other towers beforehand should you wish to ring with the band on a regular basis so you can improve - they might have their own learners who need a lot of their own time. Most will be more than happy to accommodate you.
This is how bells are rung. In this image the treble, or lightest, bell is on the left and the tenor, or heaviest, bell on the right.
It shows "rounds" being rung on six bells, 123456, 123456, 123456 ........... It will sound the same as going down a major scale on the piano; e.g. AGFEDC, AGFEDC, AGFEDC........
Look at the left bell - notice how the red "sally" is pulled downwards and is then taken upwards as the bell rotates - this is called the "handstroke".
When the rope is right up the ringer has hold only of the "tail-end" and (s)he pulls this downwards, the sally goes right down and bobs back up and is caught by the ringer; this is the "backstroke".
In rounds the bells follow each other, leaving an even gap between each bell. You can listen to this clip to hear how it would sound
The green line represents the ceiling of the "Ringing Room" through which the ropes pass to reach the bells in the "Belfry".
What you can see sticking out above the bell wheel, opposite the top of the bell, is the wooden "stay", which rotates with the bell, making contact with the wooden "slider", which is pushed back and forth, left to right and back again. This is the mechanism via which we stop the bells rotating, the bells are called to "Stand". It is also the safety mechanism. If a ringer pulls too hard and/or fails to catch the sally the stay may break. It is much easier and cheaper to replace the stay than it would be to repair the damage that might have been caused otherwise.
(Image courtesy of Fortran Friends)
You can find contact details for most churches in the Coventry Diocese from this website. Unfortunately, noot all churches with bells have enough ringers to keep their bells ringing regularlry. Therefore, if you have any problems making contact with a local tower the webmaster will try to help via email
If you live in the south/west of The Coventry Diocesan Guild area is to make use of the Edgehill Ringing Centre, based at Kineton. You can make contact via this webpage or phone Graham Nabb, who runs the Centre, on 07974 743766 - he will let you know the next step!
If you are not in our area you can find your local Guild/Association from here and look in their website for a place where you can learn to ring. If you are not sure which of these to look for you might try Dove's Guide search page, where you can search for a placename, county, diocese, etc.
You can also ask for contact to be made by following this link
There is no upper age - there are many active ringers who are well past retirement age. All you need is to be reasonably active.
The lower age is not set in stone. In some churches there is a minimum age set for insurance purposes, sometimes 11/12 - though this is not always the case. Please check at your local tower. With young people it is more likely to be a question of size - both of the young person and of the bells. If the bells are a light ring people will be able to ring them at a younger age than if they were heavy.
To be honest, most bellringers hate "that advert"! It is very rare indeed that anyone is taken up by a rope.
The safety record of bellringing is first class and this sort of dangerous behaviour would not be tolerated. Just do as your teacher tells you immediately and you will be fine!
There are lots of practices out there, some ringing more advanced things than others. Why not go along to one of those? It might be polite to make contact first to alert them that you would like to come. However, remember your own practice night!
You are welcome to come to Guild events, even if you are not a member of the Guild, when it is often possible to ring things other than you might at your own tower.
Make contact with Graham Nabb at "The Edgehill Ringing Centre"- Grahm and his team do a great deal of training. It is based in Kineton, Warwickshire.
Do remember that you can learn methods in your own time - perhaps you might purchase something from the Central Council Publications Committee Bookshop to help you do this?