The art of church bell ringing is typically English and dates back to the sixteenth century. The earliest book about change ringing is `tintinalogia' produced by Fabian Stedman in 1668. This was followed by Stedman's own `Campanologia' in 1677. I can thoroughly recommend both books as sources of useful background information.
One of the earliest associations of bell ringers was the Ancient Society of College Youths, formed in London in 1635. There are now many guilds and societies of ringers. I belong to the Peterborough Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers and am active in the Guilsborough Branch.
To date I have rung just 24 peals, each one being special in some way. My ringing has mostly developed at my home tower (Yelvertoft) where there are six bells.
Other locations of interest to ringers include pubs. There is always a pub within easy walking distance of a tower and many of them serve good food and good ale. So you can easily plan an ideal holiday! All you need is a copy of Dove's Guide and a copy of the CAMRA Real Ale Guide (and a good map).
Here is the pub which is nearest to my local tower. Actually, I don't drink here as I belong to a Country Club (drinking club) nearby! This pub is actually joined on to my house, which you can just see in the picture, so I can get home from the pub without losing contact with the wall!
Back to the ringing... I have recently branched out into the realms of surprise major methods, including Cambridge, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire etc.
For those of you who have never seen a bell ringer before here is a picture of several, hanging around as usual.
Ringing is one of the most enjoyable relaxations I know of (barring a few I suppose!). In order to be successful at it it is necessary to concentrate so hard that it is impossible to think about other worries, such as students, courseworks, etc. It is also the ultimate team game. To ring Maximus you need twelve ringers, all of whom are concentrating on the ringing. If you let your mind wander you may make a mistake, which spoils the ringing for all of the others. Unlike football, a band of ringers cannot perform at all with one member missing or off form. This requires a great deal of commitment, which is very good for you!
Method ringing can be learned by anyone who wants to learn it. It simply involves a combination of eye-hand coordination (ears can be useful too!), together with the ability to remember the 'blue line'. Here is an example of a crib which I used to learn a method called Northumberland Surprise Minor:
Believe it or not there are hundreds (thousands?) of methods. Some of the most popular are included in a book called Diagrams. Here is an example page:
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