Hurstpierpoint looking to the north east

Hurstpierpoint looking North East

Home page
Home Page
Bells and history
Bells &
Tower Practices
The Handbell team
News, events & photos
News, events
& photos
Newsletter for our Neighbours
Learning to ring Church Bells
Contact Us
Contact Us
Links to other ringing websites

Learning to Ring

Ringing church bells is a skill. The time taken to become an accomplished bell handler depends not only on physical abilities but also on age. The youngest recruits tend to be around 12 years old. Initial instruction is carried out on a special "dumb bell" and then on real bells suitably silenced by tying the clapper - this stage is purely to achieve correct rope handling and bell control - the skill.

Time taken to achieve this skill will vary according to each individual and the amount of time devoted to practice. We normally expect an individual to be able to start ringing on "open" bells after a period of about three months.

Bells are mounted on wheels and pulling the rope causes the wheel to rotate through some 360° plus thus enabling the bell to sound once during each rotation.

Like this:

Move your mouse over the image to make it move

The picture alongside is of the workings of our dumb bell, and you'd be using that as you start to learn. It was donated to us in 2003, in memory of Irene Gendall of Morpeth High School.

As you see from the moving image above, there are two rotations of the wheel, one is counter to the other. You will notice that the rope is held in two different ways according to which rotation - these are called handstroke and backstroke. The handstroke entails the holding of the "tail end of rope" and the "sally" (coloured woollen section) together whilst the backstroke requires the ringer to hold the "tail end of rope" only.

And once you've mastered that, you can actually start learning how to ring with others.

Usual progress will be as follows:

  • Descending the tonal scale, (rounds)
  • Changing the order of your bell when told (call changes)
  • Changing the order of your bell in to a simple, repetitive pattern (plain hunt)
  • Changing the order of your bell in to a predetermined pattern (A method)
  • Ringing a plain method with called variations (A touch)

-as rhythmically as you possibly can!

Ringing is a skill and one worth learning. It is fun, serves the Church and is well worth making a commitment to.

You're very welcome to come and try, either with a few friends who also want a go, or on your own. Contact us!

The dumb bell

Click image to magnify it     


The full-circle ringing animation is used by kind permission of Barney Stratford


Top of page


Valid CSS!    Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional      © Holy Trinity Church Bell Ringers 2010 - 2014