17th September 2012 - Peal Ringing

We wanted to let people in the village know more about the ringing of Peals, so I wrote a short article for the Parish Magazine:

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Most people will be aware of the recent work to rehang and augment the bells in All Saints Church, Hopton. This was a very expensive project, costing in the region of £80,000. Local fundraising provided some of the money, but the majority came from the Heritage Lottery Fund and grants from various bodies. One of the grants we received requires the bells to be made available for peal ringing four times a year.

What is a peal?

A brief description of learning to ring is required first. Once a ringer has learnt how to control a bell he or she will begin to ring together with the band of ringers in “rounds”, which is ringing the bells in order of size over and over again. The next step is to learn how to change the order that the bells are rung in. First the ringer will practice “call changes”, where a conductor will tell the ringers each time the order changes and which bells should change position. This improves the ringers ability to control the bell to the point where they can begin to take part in ringing methods.

Methods are rung by changing the order in which the bells are struck every time the complete set of bells are rung. The ringers are required to remember the pattern how of bells change. This can be more or less difficult dependant on the number of bells and the complexity of the method.

Seven bells can be rung in 5040 different orders, with 8 bells at Hopton, the heaviest bell or Tenor is typically, although not always, rung last. Ringing a method long enough for all 5040 changes to be rung is known as a peal. Curiously if 8 bells or more are involved in the method then only 5000 unique changes are required to perform a peal. This takes around 3 hours to complete and is a real challenge of concentration and stamina for the team of ringers.

Details of the dates for the peals will be published in the Parish Magazine.

Thanks for visiting the Hopton Bells and Tower Ap-peal Web Site (© Simon Frost 2011 simonfrost@btinternet.com)