Return to Ringing?
The restrictions caused by the coronavirus over the past year have meant that for much of that time we have not be able to ring the bells in Nassington church.
With the easing of lockdown restrictions, we are being allowed to do things again, including social activities and meeting in groups of up to 6. So from 17 May, up to 6 people are allowed to ring bells again. Not having rung for a while we may be out of practice and we hope that our ringing will improve as we get used to doing it again.
It has been agreed we will ring for Sunday services from 23 May, from 9am as in the past. As many of the ringers haven’t rung for 6 months, there will be short (ie less than 45 minutes) practices on Monday evenings from 17 May, excluding the bank holiday on 31 May. In addition, we will ring half muffled for a funeral on the morning of 17 May.
It is anticipated that the normal practice night on Monday evenings will be allowed after the further loosening of lockdown in June.
This feels like a further step towards normality!
Bell Ringing at Nassington
We have six bells at Nassington and ring regularly for services and weddings. We hold a practice evening every Monday from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm, and if you wish to join us you will be made very welcome, whether you are a beginner or an experienced ringer. All the towers in our area are well worth attending and will make everyone welcome .
There is also a good social side to bell ringing, and the Peterborough Branch organises events such as an Afternoon Tea Ring, tower outings and workshops. http://www.petbells.org.uk
If you would like to know more, please contact Brian Hardie the Tower Captain on 01780 783855, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learning to ring the bells
We would be delighted to welcome new ringers and you will be made very welcome. We are also linked with the training centre at St Kyneburgha Church at Castor, which meets on Saturday mornings from 10:00 am to 12:00 midday. http://www.petbells.org.uk/ringing-school
The Nassington Church Bells Restoration Project
The bells at Nassington Church have been rung since 1552, and until August 2016 had a ring of 5 bells. The bell frame is a composite structure incorporating cast iron. The Quinquennial Inspection in 2012 identified that whilst the church was in a generally good condition, major work was required to the bell frame and the bells.
The remedial work to the frame and the augmentation of the ring, was undertaken by John Taylor and Co of Loughborough, at a cost of £70,000 funded from grants and donations. Thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Peterborough Guild of Bellringers, Nassington Parish Council, Northamptonshire Historic Churches Trust and the Sharpe Trust, plus very generous donations, this project started in 2016.
The new treble bell was funded by the Teall family, in memory of their parents Dennis and Joan, who lived in the village for many years, and bell ringers In recognition of this generous donation, the PCC agreed that the new bell will be called the Teall Treble. This bell was cast on 26th May 2016.
The new frame and the bells returned to Nassington in October 2016, for installation in November.
Nassington Church hosted a Benefice Service on 26 February 2017, where the Rt Rev Donald Allister, Bishop of Peterborough, formally dedicated the bells. For this service we were joined by key donors, grant givers and a representative from Taylor’s Foundry.
How do bells ring?
Bells in most English Towers are large; ranging in weight from a few hundred pounds to several tons and, like many things in life, are referred to in the feminine gender. A ring of bells will usually consist of four to twelve bronze bells. A bell in her usual resting position is ‘rung down’ and is free to swing gently in the breeze without sounding.
Bells for change ringing are hung in stout frames that allow the bells to swing through 360 degrees. Each bell is attached to a wooden wheel with a handmade rope running around it. The mechanism achieves such exquisite balance that ten-year-olds and octogenarians can control the largest bell easily. The harmonic richness of a swinging bell cannot be matched by the same bell hanging stationary, but each swinging bell requires one ringer’s full attention.
The bells are arranged in the frame so their ropes hang in a circle in the ringing chamber below. Into each rope is woven a tuft of brightly coloured wool (sally), which marks where the ringer must catch the rope while ringing. Bells are rung from the “mouth up” position. With a pull of the rope, the bell swings through a full circle to the “up” position again. With the next pull it swings back in the other direction.
When the bells sound down the scale they are ringing in rounds. A change is when bells ring in an order other than rounds, as bells can be rung at a faster or slower pace to allow these changes to take place. The system of arranging the changes is called a method. There are many methods ranging from simple to very complex.