Discover Bell Ringing!
19 March 2022
We are very fortunate in Norfolk to have a purpose-built bellringing training centre in Norwich located at St Peter Mancroft church. Nikki Thomas, manager at the Mancroft Ringing Discovery Centre and Secretary of the Norwich Diocesan Association of Ringers shares more.
The training centre is one of only three in the world and was installed to mark the 300th anniversary of the first recorded peal, which was rung at Mancroft in 1715. Situated at the back of the church, there is also a fascinating exhibition that tells the story of bellringing in Norwich.
This week one of my young ringers asked me if we are going to enter the 2022 National Youth Contest taking place in Exeter in July. I hesitated to answer. Have we enough ringers to enter?
We hold a Junior Practice on a Wednesday evening from 5.30-6.30pm. It is a fun session where you are taught to ring church bells on the training bells by accredited teachers. One thing about ringing bells is that you don’t need to be strong, but you do need to be taught the correct technique. The junior session is for children aged 7+.
I asked the juniors why they enjoy ringing. I was told there are lots of reason, “You get to meet so many people from all around the world and make amazing friends”; “Each tower you ring at is different. There’s lots of history, I love finding out about the founders and when the bells were cast”; “There’s lot’s to learn, new methods, new compositions. You need to focus a lot to ring correctly. Some bells are easy and some are lumpy and challenging”.
The Mancroft Ringing Discovery Centre can be used by ringers from any tower to come and practise together to build their confidence. Experienced ringers help novice ringers explore change ringing. Anyone interested in learning to ring from scratch can be helped with the basics before joining at their home parish with a band.
If you are interested in learning to ring church bells please email Nikki here.