Ringing at St John the Baptist, Great Amwell

The sound of bells ringing is part of British culture. Almost everyone in England lives within hearing range of bells. The first bell was installed in St John the Baptist Church, Great Amwell, in the sixteenth century (called ‘Come all ye faithful’) and two more in the seventeenth century (‘Praise the Lord 1612’ and ‘Crown him lord of all’). These bells were tolled with the bell down. Three more bells were installed in the 1950s (‘George’ and ‘Elizabeth’ in 1953 and ‘Charles’ in 1954) and, along with the original three now all hung with wheels, they can be rung full circle.

The photograph shows typical bells hung with wheels: the one on the left is down and the one on the right is up and ready to ring full circle.

We have six bells, so we need at least six ringers to be able to make the sound everybody knows.

Anyone can ring and you don’t need to be a church member:

  • Ringers come from all walks of life and range in age from ten to over eighty.
  • Many ring for the pleasure and company it brings, while others think of it as their contribution to church life.
  • You don’t need to be strong, but it does provide physical and mental stimulation.
  • It is a skill for life. Once they have learnt, youngsters continue at University. Lapsed ringers can return after fifty years away and they haven’t forgotten how to ring.
  • One ringer commented, ‘When I’m ringing I forget all the tensions of the day. Even more, I couldn’t wish for a better group of friends.’

So do come and see what is involved. You don’t need to live in Great Amwell. We meet every Thursday at 7.30pm, but if this isn’t convenient please still contact us.

Frances Adams
(07876 496654 or fmadams50@yahoo.co.uk)

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