Bellringers assemble for 30th anniversary - The Evesham Observer

Bellringers assemble for 30th anniversary

Evesham Editorial 2nd Apr, 2019   0

BELLRINGERS from across the country will gather in Pershore to celebrate the 30th anniversary of an important bellringing achievement with a special pearl.

Bellringing ‘methods’ are composed by talented individuals and 30 years ago, Roddy Horton created a particularly demanding combination of not one, but four, different methods.

It provided an immediate challenge to bellringers all over the country because it required a high level of skill, experience and concentration to perform.

Within a year or two this composition became affectionately known as Horton’s-Four and to this day it remains a popular test piece.

Horton’s-Four was first rung in Yorkshire in 1989 and now, 30 years later, the St Andrew’s Centre will celebrate this ground-breaking composition on April 16.

For this anniversary Roddy was asked to revisit his original work and see if it could be extended into something even more challenging.

After wrestling with the problem for a number of years, he’s devised a version which features about 10,000 changes in length and will take nearly six hours to ring.

Eight bellringers will take on the challenge to ring the bells from 11.30am onwards.

Church bells are rung according to a specified pattern or ‘method’ by a group of people, each person ringing one bell.

In this respect it is rather like musicians getting together to play a symphony, or a Morris team performing a dance.

Bellringers have to memorise each particular ‘method’ they ring and then make their bell sound at a prescribed time, such that it intertwines with all the other bells and produces a pleasingly rhythmic and musical effect.

This evolving pattern of sound gives rise to the phrase ‘ringing the changes’ and the essential feature is each pattern, or ‘change’, is unique and is not repeated during the course of the performance.

Bellringing performances are called ‘peals’ and involve ringing at least 5,000 different changes. How long this takes depends upon the number and the weight of bells being rung.

At the Parish Centre there are eight light bells and a peal takes about two and three quarter hours to perform. The far bigger bells at Pershore Abbey, or the heavy ring of twelve bells at Evesham may take more than three hours to ring.

Martin Whiteley from the Pershore Abbey Society of Bell Ringers said: “If you’re in the vicinity of the St Andrew’s Centre, hopefully you’ll hear the bells ringing a special peal, ringers honouring one of their own for the contribution he’s made to the ever-evolving art of church bell ringing.”


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