On 11 November 2018, 100 years since the Armistice, bells will ring out from churches and cathedrals in villages, towns and cities across the country. Big Ben will also strike at 11am to mark the centenary.
Church bells across the UK remained restricted throughout the course of the war and only rang freely once Armistice was declared on 11 November 1918.
Many bell ringers joined the war effort, and many lost their lives. Just after the war, the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers wrote to all bell towers to compile the Roll of Honour. At the time 1,100 men were reported as lost. During the First World War Centenary the Central Council of Bell Ringers has been reviewing this list and has discovered further bell ringers who died in service to come to a figure of 1,400.
To mark the final year of the First World War centenary commemorations, 1,400 new bell ringers will be recruited in honour of the 1,400 who lost their lives during the First World War.
This campaign to recruit bell ringers, “Ringing Remembers”, aims to keep this traditional British art alive in memory of the 1,400 who lost their lives – linking together past, present and future.
Bell ringing is a traditional skill that anyone can do, as it just requires some co-ordination. Ringers come from all walks of life and range from aged 11, through teenage years, universities, to those in their 80’s. It is good exercise as well as a social team event.
The Peterborough Branch of the Guild of Bell Ringers is aiming to contribute to this number, so they are actively recruiting as many new ringers as possible.
Bell ringing in the Peterborough area is taught at the Castor Ringing School most Saturday mornings from 10am to 12 noon, and at a number of other churches.
If you think you might be interested in learning to ring bells, further information can be found on the Ringing School’s website: www.castor.ringingschool.uk or contact Hilary Hardie, 01780 783855 firstname.lastname@example.org
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM
Church bells are large; ranging in weight from a few hundred pounds to several tons. A ring of bells will usually consist of four to twelve bronze bells.
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 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.