Andy Cope our Tower Captain was on Bolton FM at All Souls this November talking about bell ringing and we were fascinated. We learned:
1) The practice of bell ringing is called campanology
2) Bell ringing as we know it in the UK is almost a uniquely British thing – there are 50 active bell towers in the US, 3 in New Zealand and over 5,000 in Britain. This makes it an important (and often taken for granted) part of our heritage.
3) All Souls has 8 bells, so songs or ‘methods’ rung in our tower consist of 8 notes played in a difference sequence each time. There are over 40,000 possible combinations of these 8 numbers
4) Ringing a method involves learning your place in this sequence off by heart
5) The tower captain acts as ‘conductor’ and must learn every combination of numbers of the entire method so that he can direct his ringers
6) If someone goes wrong, everyone must start again
7) Because of the mathematical nature of bell ringing and the amount of concentration required, instances of Alzheimer’s disease in campanologists are reportedly significantly reduced
8) Bell ringing is a good workout for the mind as well as the body, and ringers report feeling relaxed and clear headed after a session.
Below is a picture of a bell ringing ‘score’. If you were bell 2, you’d have to learn the pattern of the red line in order to ring this method. If you reckon you could do it and are ready to reap the benefits of bell ringing with a friendly group – leave your details with us on 01204 385 868 and Andy will be in touch with how to get involved!