Bell Ringers

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General

St Christopher's is home to the lightest ring of bells in a church in the world.

One of the St Christopher's bells

We ring the bells every Sunday morning between 10 and 10.30am, and practice every Wednesday between 7 and 8.30pm. We ring quarter peals about once a month, each lasting about 35 mins, with the fastest being 29 minutes and the slowest 46 minutes.

For further information on our bells and bell ringing, please contact Reg or Isabel Hitchings (01242 243099) - .

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History

One of the St Christopher's bells

In 1998, in order to celebrate the Millennium and the church's 40th birthday, plans were put in place to make St Christopher's look more like a church. A fleche/mini spire would be added to the roof and this would include a clock and bell 'sound'.

In early February, 2001, we started to research into the possibilities of changing the bell 'sound' into a ring of bells. Research into mini rings indicated that they might not gain church or diocesan approval. During a conversation with Matthew Higby , we discovered that he had a light ring of six bells (tenor 63lbs) which he had purchased some time before as a demonstration ring, but never installed. He thought that these would fit in the available space and it was hoped that they would gain the approval of the Church Council.

Matthew was asked to make a presentation to some of the council members and other interested people at the beginning of March. He brought the four largest with him and discussed the feasibility of hanging them in the roof space below the fleche. Three days later an order was placed for the bells.

The bells were hung on 12th-13th July 2001 and rung for the first time at 5pm on 13th July 2001 by:

  • David Bagley
  • Geoff Carter
  • David Godwin
  • Ruth Halling
  • Matthew Higby
  • Isabel Hitchings
  • Reg Hitchings
The St Christopher's bell arrangement


Our bell arrangement

They were rung before and after the 40th anniversary service on the 15th of July 2001. At the service the Rt. Revd. David Bentley, Bishop of Gloucester, dedicated the bells. In the following ringing a past vicar, Rev'd. Graham Minors, declared that 'he could die happy and contented. It was just what St. Christopher's wanted!'

All of the bells were produced by John Taylor of Loughborough in 1998 and carry the inscription '19T98' around their crowns.

  • 0-0-24
  • 0-1-5
  • 0-1-10
  • 0-1-12
  • 0-2-3
  • 0-2-7
  • in C (Hum = 523Hz)

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Ringing Technique

In ringing, you have two strokes: the hand stroke and the backstroke. The hand stroke is the stroke that involves the fluffy bit (Sally) and the tail-end.

For the hand stroke, you have the tail-end in one hand between the thumb and the fingers. This is the strongest area of your hands. You pull the sally with the other hand. To perform the backstroke, you need to let go of the sally, (not the tail-end) and immediately hold, with the sally hand, the tail-end, but above the other hand. The bell will lift your arms. When the bell gets to the balance (the place where it can go on over, or go back down), you must pull down with your arms to about waist height. Then let go of the tail with the upper hand and catch the sally. You have now completed the cycle of ringing.

You may be interested in these external links: Ringing in Cheltenham and General Bellringing .

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