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St Mary’s Barton – the artists meet with Fr. David Rowett to perform a technical recce in the church. It also provides an important and informative opportunity to distil ideas and glean information from Fr. David’s limitless knowledge!

Ringing the Bells

We are very lucky to have secured the Bellringers at St Mary’s Church to ‘ring in’ our exhibition. This is particularly poignant as it resonates with McCourt’s theme of the ‘lost villages’, alluding to folklore and tales of bells still being heard to ring out at sea. We invited Andy Bennett, the Tower Captain, to contribute to this blog. He writes:

Ringing the Bells|

From the very earliest years of Christianity bells have been used to summon worshippers the church.  Initially they were hung below a simple spindle and rung by pulling a rope attached to a pulley or lever.  It eventually became normal to hang bells in church towers.  As well as announcing church services they might also mark curfew times, market openings, fire warnings and celebrations such as military victories and royal births, marriages, funerals and coronations.

Events in 16th century England saw the Reformation and the break with Roman Catholicism after which church bells ceased to be under the control of the clergy and their ringing was taken over by lay bell ringers.  No longer satisfied with just clashing the tower’s bells, as ringers still do on the Continent, English ringers demanded peals of properly tuned and easily controlled bells which could be rung in an orderly and melodious manner.  It would see that ion the 17th century English ringers took the matter a stage further  and by mixing up the order in which the bells were rung created what became known as change ringing.  Peals of bells hung for change ringing are to be found throughout the British Isles and in many the the countries of the former Empire.  A peal of bells on which changes can be rung was recently installed at Dordrecht in Holland – perhaps the first on many in Europe.

The towers at both of Barton’s churches hold rings of eight bells though only the ones at St Mary’s are rung regularly on Sunday mornings and at Tuesday night practice.  The band of ringers at St Mary’s is one of the best in the county, always willing to teach anyone who would like to have a ‘go’.  Just come along at 7.30 pm on any Tuesday evening, meet the ringers and perhaps have a ring yourself.
If you’d like to have a look at then please do. This is the website for the Lincoln Guild of Church Bellringers. There is a lot of information on there.

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