Fancy learning the ropes?
The village has a band of bellringers, who practice on Fridays every week at 8:00pm (7:30 to 8:00pm for new learners), as well as the Sunday services when they are held at St Peter's. Most of the ringers have been ringing the bells here since 2007. The band is currently made up of just 5 ringers, which means that we need some more hands to join in the fun!
Grab a sally and join in the fun
Bell ringing is an enjoyable activity, and a very rewarding one too. The ringing of church bells has been a part of the English way of life for centuries, and continues to be a popular pastime for many people of all ages. The basics of bell control are quick to learn, and then once confident to ring solo, there is a huge variety combinations or changes to learn and then finally advanced patterns of changes called methods.
Why not come along and try your hand? Grab a sally and join in the fun with our friendly band of ringers. If you are interested, please get in touch with the either:
Peter Day: 01449 743686 or Mandy Coll: 01449 741574
The history of the bells
St Peter's sits at the top of the hill overlooking Monks Eleigh and the beautiful Brett valley. Built in the mid 14th century, the church dominates the skyline with its magnificent tower, which was added in the 15th century. The tower contains a ring of 6 bells, which are still mounted in their original medieval oak frame. The bells are fully operational and are rung most weeks for practices or services.
The 6 bells range in age from mid 14th to late 18th centuries:
- Bell No. 1 cast in 1790, weighing 5 CWT (Treble)
- Bell No. 2 cast in 1638, weighing 6 CWT
- Bell No. 3 cast in 1637, weighing 7 CWT
- Bell No. 4 cast in 1470, weighing 9 CWT
- Bell No. 5 cast in 1347, weighing 14 CWT
- Bell No. 6 cast in 1638, weighing 15 CWT (Tenor)
Originally, the bells were rung from the floor of the tower, but at a later date, a wooden ringing platform was built, which elevates the ringers about 10 feet above the original floor. The bell ropes are suspended from the ceiling high above, and pass though the clock room to the belfry which is beyond and near the top the tower.
How the bells are rung
Bells are mounted on a large counterweighted block or headstock, and have a large wheel mounted on the central axis (pivoting point), which allows a rope to be wound around and hung down through the tower to the ringing chamber. A ringer will hold the woollen grip (often striped) which is called the sally.
The bells are normally hanging with the mouth downwards, and so need to be rung up before any ringing can take place. Once in the up position, the ringer pulls the bell off of its stay (resting point) and uses the momentum of the swinging bell together with regular pulls on the rope to give the characteristic rhythmic ringing.