Old Marston Bell Ringers
You are warmly invited to our Annual General Meeting on Friday 23rd February 2024 in the vestry of St Nicholas Church starting at 19:00. Refreshments will be provided. Download the poster here for more information.
We took park in the Clewer initiative which is the Church of England’s response to modern slavery. Bells will be rung out across the country in solidarity. St Nicholas Bell Ringers have taken part – view the video here
A warm welcome awaits you if you venture to the tower at St Nicholas Church, Old Marston. We have ringers of all skill levels and one of the easiest sets of bells locally to learn to ring on. Join us and you will become part of our friendly community from day one.
So what are you waiting for? Come along and let us show you the ropes (awful jokes aren’t always included but a sense of humour is).’
You can. Nearly everybody in the world can. If you’re reasonably fit and enjoy a bit of a challenge — both physically and mentally — come and give it a go.
The great thing about ringing is that you can have people of all ages ringing either side of you. That’s pretty special.
Bellringing isn’t especially physical – there is an element of it, but it really is about technique. You’ll want a sense of rhythm, decent coordination, and the ability to remember sequences, as well as a full range of movement in your arms and shoulders.
The only other thing to bear in mind is access to the ringing chamber. We’re quite fortunate at Marston that ours is up a flight of stairs. In some towers, you have to climb a ladder, or venture up spiral staircases with uneven steps.
How long’s a piece of rope? You’ll receive training from one of our teachers around basic bell control and then away you go. This can vary from person to person and depends how much practice you want to put in. Remember, in an evening, you may only get to ring for about 20 minutes total because others will be ringing lots of different things too, so whilst you may pick it up easily, it can take six months to be competent and confident enough to ring by yourself.
Once the basics are mastered, you’ll progress to change ringing (where the bells swap places) and method ringing (a fancy name for ringing a tune).
Contact our Secretary. He’ll talk you through any questions you may have. The first step once you are happy is getting used to the rope and controlling the different elements of the bell. This will be taught one to one with a teacher.
Once you’ve got a sound knowledge of this, ringers will slowly fill in around you until you are ringing with the entire band. Don’t expect this to happen on your first session.
Not necessarily. You may simply want to take up bellringing because you enjoy making music or want to learn a new skill. You may like the idea of being able to ring for Christmas or weddings too, and being part of the community in your own little way.
There is an expectation that by learning to ring, you will support the band with ringing for services – not every week if you cannot make it, but you’re getting free use of an instrument so giving something back is always appreciated, and it’s only half an hour out of your weekend.
St Nicholas Church Bell Chamber is up a single flight of 12 steep steps with a handrail either side. At the top of the staircase is a balcony space and the bell chamber is immediately on the right. There is no other access door to the chamber and the entrance is at least the width of a double door. During practices and service times, the vestry is open to gain access to an accessible toilet. There are several seats available to ringers on the same level as the chamber. The chamber is relatively well lit by a single fluorescent tube light and natural light from the large window on one side. During practice times, a small amount of refreshments are provided. There is no need for ringers to access any other parts of the bell tower, however, if you become more involved and wish to support with maintenance, you will be required to ascend a minimum of one fixed vertical ladder.
We are a group of local people who share a passion for campology - the art of bell ringing. We are part of a tradition that goes back hundreds of years and are always keen to welcome new members who are interested in taking part.
In addition to the church bells, we also regularly meet to ring hand bells. Contact us to find out more.