Bells & Bell Ringing
THE CHURCH BELLS
Ladbroke All Saints have a ring of five bells which were recast in 1873 and restored in April 2000. The treble is the lightest bell and weighs 652lbs (296kg) and the tenor is the heaviest at 1502lbs (682kg).
Ladbroke is a member of the Coventry Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers see www.coventrydg.co.uk.
Practice Night is Tuesdays 7.30 – 9.00 pm
We would like to recruit new ringers to bolster the team in Ladbroke and anyone, 12 years and above, is very welcome to come to a practice night and see how it all works. Full training in bell handling is given.
For further information please contact: Keith Archer 01926 810037
This is a real British Folk Art. Bells have been the voices of the Church almost since Christianity began. The method of ringing as you find it now has been practised for almost 400 years. The voices which come from our Cathedrals and Churches may be those of small high-sounding bells weighing little more than a hundredweight (50kgs) to monsters of several tons.
Ringing the changes
In the seventeenth century the practice of turning the bell full circle with a rope and wheel to make it speak with its fullest tone was developed. From this evolved the art of not merely ringing a fixed pattern of notes, for instance straight down the scale, but of changing the order so that an almost infinite variety of different note patterns could be obtained. In any piece of ringing the order is never repeated, hence we really are ‘ringing the changes’.
How are bells rung?
A bell starts with its mouth facing down. By pulling the rope it is swung higher and higher until it can be rested with its mouth facing up. From this position it can be rotated full circle first one way and then the other. Only the rope is used to perform these operations. For each rotation the bell sounds once.
What is change ringing?
In change ringing the ringers use their skill at controlling their bells to make them ring in a continuously changing order.
The patterns they ring are many centuries old and have strange names like “Grandsire Doubles”. When the bells sound down the scale they are ringing ROUNDS.
A CHANGE is when the bells ring in an order other than rounds. In a set piece no change should be repeated.
The system of arranging the changes is termed a METHOD. There are many methods. They vary from the simple to the very complex.
A PEAL is over 5000 changes and takes around three hours to ring.
A TOUCH can be as few as 24 changes and can take a few minutes to ring.
Bell ringing as practised in Britain is practically unknown elsewhere due to the way the bells are hung.
LADBROKE BELL HISTORY
Ladbroke’s bells are heard every week, rung by villagers and visitors under the leadership of the Bell Captain, Keith Archer. Since we have a peal of 5 bells it is always best to have at least 5 ringers.. With 5 bells they can ring “Rounds”(12345123…and so on); Singles on 3 bells, Minimus on 4 and Doubles on 5. Since there is often a shortage of ringers, an unique variation “Ladbroke Surprise” was developed by an earlier Tower Captain and continued by Steve Doyle while he was Bell Captain.
Bells were rung originally to call villagers not only to prayer but also to fairs, festivals and other events since villagers in former years had no way to tell the time. Many of these were associated with drinking (and bell ringing itself is thirsty work – and used to be well paid !) so it is not surprising to find many pubs near churches called The Bell – just like ours.
The bells of All Saints’ Ladbroke date back beyond 1552 when 3 bells were hung in the tower. A 4th was added in 1656 and finally the 5th arrived in 1750. By 1872 they were in such a poor state that they could no longer be rung, so in 1873 all 5 were recast into their present state by Taylors of Loughborough.
At the time of recasting, the 1st bell (the treble and lightest at 331kg) was found to be cracked and bound up with iron. Its wheel and frame were rotten. It bears the motto Cantate Dominum Canticum Novum (Sing to the Lord a new song) and has a rope border ornament.
The 2nd bell, a little heavier at 386 kg has old English characters that indicate the casting at 1450. By 1873 it was cracked throughout, its wheel and frame gone and the stock rotten. Its motto reads Sancta Caterina Sona Pro Nobis (Saint Catherine sound for us).
The 3rd bell 433 kg was also cracked. It had an inscription to Henry Baglee and the notto Domine Salvam Fac Ecclesiam (O Lord make safe the church).
The fourth bell weighs 541kg.
Finally the 5th bell at 746kgms easily the heaviest, the tenor bell which was added in 1750 had an inscription added at the recasting To The Glory of God and in memory of John Sabin Smith, lieut. 45th Regiment who died in Burma Aug 10 1872, aged 24.