Inside St Andrew’s 16th century tower there are ten bells; the largest is about 19 cwt or 1900 pounds. Among bell ringers, St Andrew's are recognised as being a fine ring.
Bell ringing has been called an art and a science, traditionally called “the exercise”; which is what it is: a most satisfying exercise of brain and body. Ringing bells only requires a desire to learn, and a sense of rhythm will help!
Bells are rung by a rope attached to a wheel, which swings the bell in a full circle, starting with the bells pointing vertically up. About two thirds of the way round, the clapper inside the bell strikes the bell, to make it sound. The bells are arranged in a circle, from the smallest (the treble) to the largest (the tenor). They are tuned according to the notes of a major scale.
When the bells are made to sound in a descending scale it is called ringing “rounds”. But much more interesting is when the order of the bells changes each time the bells sound - hence “ringing the changes”. There are more possible changes than you might think: with seven bells, there are 5040; this takes about three hours to ring. A “peal” means ringing 5000 or more changes; but what is usually rung is a “touch” of fewer changes. Bell ringers say ‘ring’ though not ‘pealing’, and the set of bells is also called a “ring”.
If you would like to see the bells in action or learn more about joining our friendly “band”, please come along to the tower on a Tuesday at 7.30pm, which is our practice night; or on a Sunday at 9.15am, before the worship service. You would be most welcome!
Bell ringing funfacts: www.ringingworld.co.uk/learntoring/. To learn more about bell ringing visit:www.cccbr.org.uk or http://guildfordguild.org.uk/