Bell Ringers

BELL RINGING AT COALEY

Coaley bells are rung for the Sunday Morning Services. Mostly these services are held at
9-15 am with ringing from 8-45 am. The ringers also practise on Wednesday evenings from 7-30 pm.

However, the number of ringers is relatively low and service ringing and practise only take place if sufficient numbers are available. Because of this, potential visitors are advised to consult the Tower Captain (currently Terry Chivers, telephone 01453 890497) in advance.

To try and avoid the above uncertainties we are in need of new recruits. Strength is not a requirement but a minimum age of 11 years is; there is no upper age limit. Initially, recruits are required to acquire the skill of handling a bell, and training can be organised around the candidate’s availability rather than simply within the confines of a Wednesday practise. If you would wish to try your hand at bell ringing then give Terry Chivers a call (01453890497) or talk to one of the ringers.

Having becoming a competent ringer a wide range of opportunities are available should you wish to avail yourself of these. Coaley is a member of the Wotton-under-Edge Branch of the Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers and meetings are held each month in different towers. These meetings give ringers the opportunity to develop their skills as well as developing the abilities of others. Each year the Branch organises a competition when ringers from the area compete to determine which tower produces the best striking; i.e. the least clashes. The objective is to encourage the raising of standards of ringing. The Coaley band that competed in the 2014 competition is shown below.

The primary objective is to ring for Sunday Service. However, bells are also rung for other occasions; an obvious one being for weddings, but the bells are also rung to mark other events. These may be celebratory to mark, for example, birthdays or wedding anniversaries, or perhaps sadder events. An example of the latter is the ringing that has taken place to mark the commencement of World War I.  During that war three bell ringers from Coaley lost their lives. These were:

                Nelson Frank Griffin: 

Pte. 16564, 12th Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment.             Died: 29.07.1916, aged 19.

                William Charles Pegler:

Pte 17375, 10th Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment.              Died: 19.08.1916.

Both Nelson and William are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France

                Robert Percy Smith:

Pte 28933, 8th Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment. Died: 05.08.1917, aged 23.

Buried at Somer Farm Cemetery, Belgium

It is intended that the bells of Coaley will ring out on the 100th Anniversary of their deaths as a mark of respect.

On such occasions the bells are rung ‘half muffled’. This is where a leather pad is placed on one side of the clapper to dull the sound, giving an echo effect – the bells of heaven reflecting the bells of Earth. Also, it is usual to ring a Quarter Peal for such an event.

At Coaley we have six bells, and if rung in rounds, they strike in turn i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; but frequently the order of striking is changed to give variations. These variations may be called by a conductor – call changes – or follow a method where each ringer remembers a pattern – method ringing. If you have two bells, 1 and 2, there are only two changes that can be rung, 1, 2 or 2, 1. On three bells you can ring 1, 2, 3; 2, 1, 3; 2, 3, 1; 3, 2, 1; 3, 1, 2; 1, 3, 2; and back to 1, 2, 3; or six different changes. On seven bells you can have 5040 different changes and if this number is rung then that is called a peal. 5040 divided by four is 1260 and this number of changes comprises a Quarter Peal and takes about 45 minutes to ring.

Whilst the sequencing of the bells is mathematical no skills in that area are required from the ringers, only the ability to remember a relatively simple pattern that dictates the movement of their bell amongst the others. An example follows.

 

 

 

 

This example is Grandsire Doubles. The 1 (treble) and 2 are plain hunting. That is, they move from the front to the back to the front. The other three bells basically plain hunt but do something slightly different when the treble leads.

 

A half muffled quarter peal was rung on Saturday 9th August 2014 to mark the commencement of World War I. Regretfully the only Coaley ringer was Terry Chivers, who also conducted the quarter peal, the other ringers coming from outside the Parish.