Are you interested in bell ringing? If so please do contact Andrew Goldthorpe Secretary – Witney & Woodstock branch, ODG www.witneyandwoodstockbells.co.uk 07709 461597
Here is background information on a peal of bells
A peal is the special name given to a specific type of performance of change ringing which meets certain exacting conditions for duration, complexity and quality. It is a feat of concentration, skill as well as endurance so they tend to be rung for special occasions only!
On a typical 8 bell tower like St Mary’s, a “Triples” peal takes around three hours to ring; it must comprise at least 5040 unique numerical sequences or “changes” on up to seven working bells; the time depends on several factors including the number of changes and the weight of the bells, which affects the speed of ringing. The bells at St Mary’s are heavy, with our tenor (the number 8) weighing three quarters of a ton!
Some key conditions required for all peals are:
- A peal shall start and end with rounds and shall be rung without interval.
- No row shall be struck more than once before the next change is made.
- Every bell must sound at every row throughout the peal.
- Each bell must be rung continuously by the same person or persons.
- The bells shall be audible outside the building in which they are contained.
- No assistance of any kind shall be given to any ringer by any person not ringing in the peal.
- The use of physical aids to memory in conducting and ringing is not permitted.
- No error in calling shall be corrected later than during the change at which the call or change of method or non-method block would properly take effect.
- Any shift or error in ringing shall be corrected immediately.
Composition of peals is a specialised and highly complicated area of change ringing, as it involves composing a peal according to the rules. The "Conductor" of the peal has to:
- Control and ring their own bell in the correct sequence
- Correct other ringers if they go wrong
- Call the "bobs" and "singles" which are the "composition" – the equivalent of a musical score – that ensures the correct changes are rung in the correct sequence.
A peal can fail at any point if there is a mix-up of bells which cannot be put right; this can happen only minutes from the end! This is what happened after 2:15 mins when we attempted and failed to ring a peal at Witney on the 26th August!
Here is a link to our blog posting on the branch website: https://www.witneyandwoodstockbells.co.uk/Blog-and-news/post/an-appealing-way-to-celebrate-the-775th-witney-feast