Bells to ring out for heritage

The bell at St John the Evangelist Church will ring out for the first time in more than a decade.
The bell at St John the Evangelist Church will ring out for the first time in more than a decade.
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An original 19th century church bell will ring out for the first time in more than a decade this autumn.

The 1829 bell at St John the Evangelist Church, Oulton with Woodlesford, will be heard across the parish as part of a nationwide push to bring to life the 400-year-old tradition of English-style bell ringing.

Churches and cathedrals across Leeds are being challenged to show people the ropes as part of Heritage Open Days festival from September 8 to 11.

The call to the ringing world to open up 500 sites will provide a unique opportunity for ringing bands across England to share the heritage hidden inside

their bell towers. Bell ringers across the country are already signing up to take part in Challenge 500 including enthusiasts at St John the Evangelist Church, where people can hear the bells on September 10 and 11.

Loyd Grossman, patron of Heritage Open Days, said: “Heritage Open Days festival provides the perfect opportunity to join together to bring to life the 400 year old tradition of English-style bell ringing for a huge audience. We are keen to recruit churches and cathedrals to become involved in the festival by registering an event for visitors to discover their bell towers and to take part in hands-on demonstrations.”

The tradition of change ringing has its roots in England. Instead of ‘tunes’ the bells ring in orderly sequences that the ringers learn as patterns and then ring from memory. Ringers control the bell with a rope, while the bell turns full circle, mounted on a wheel.

Chris Mew, president of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, said: “We are excited that bell ringers will join this annual celebration of our cultural treasures.”

Ringers are also invited to create a collective bell ringing moment on September 8 between 6pm and 7pm.

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