Our Bell Ringers
We have a keen and friendly band of ringers, with a wide range of ages and experience.
Bells have been calling the people of Bletchingley to worship for about 300 years. We ring the bells before the main Sunday services (9.00-9.30am), for special occasions such as weddings, and for Surrey Association training events. A single bell is chimed for 5 to 10 mins before the 8am service on Sunday mornings and occasional midweek services.
We practice in St Mary's church tower every Wednesday evening (7.30-9.15pm).
The dates of weddings, training events etc can be found on the Parish Diary.
Anyone can learn to be a bell ringer and we always welcome visitors, whether you are an experienced ringer, are interested in becoming a bell ringer, or just want to find out more about the bells and how they are rung.
Although the bells are high up in the church tower, we ring them from the ground floor and we can even show you the bells as they rotate, on closed circuit TV. Ringing on the ground floor enables our ri ngers to feel that they are an active part of the Church.
Do come in and see us, through the big old tower door at the West end of the church, on any Wednesday evening.
The bells are set in our beautiful early Norman tower (dating from about 1090), which is over 5ft thick in some places!
The current bells date back to 1780 and Bletchingley is slightly unusual in having as many as ten bells – a fitting number for what was once a market town with two members of parliament! Our bells are one of the finest rings of ten bells in Surrey.
The original eight bells were cast in 1780 by Thomas Janaway of Chelsea. Five of them were subsequently recast by Mears and Stainbank (Whitechapel) in 1912 and two more were added as part of the major restoration in 1991.
The tenth and heaviest bell (known as the tenor) weighs about 850kg or 16½cwt
When they are being rung, each bell turns an almost complete circle every time it strikes.
Bells form an important part of our Church's worship:-
- They give notice that a service is about to take place and call people to worship.
- They give praise to God with a joyous sound.
- They help us to give thanks to God on special occasions (such as weddings)
Why be a Bell-Ringer ?
10 Good Reasons:
- Team work – work as a team and enjoy a tradition dating back 400 years.
- Physical exercise – ringing involves physical exercise and a sense of timing, but doesn’t require brute strength
- Join a friendly and sociable local group
- Make a wider group of friends– bell ringers are very sociable people, and as a ringer you will be welcomed in almost every tower in the country
- Travel – opportunity to visit lots of wonderful churches and little villages (including the pubs!)
- Gain a life-long learning experience – there is always more you can learn as ringer
- Give a service to the village and church
- Stretch yourself with a great mental work-out
- Engineering – maintaining the bells in their frame can be quite a challenge.Make a Glorious Sound! and forget the stresses and tensions of the day
Ringing is suitable for anyone from the age of around 11 and over. Once the basic rope handling is mastered, practice enables a ringer to become more confident and gain great satisfaction from ringing. You don’t have to be a believer or a church-goer – but many of our ringers are!
If you are interested in finding out more about bells and bell ringing, or even learning how to ring our bells and becoming one of the Bletchingley bell ringers, please contact :-
The Tower Captain - Ed Muller:
Tel: 01883 742799
The Bletchingley Ringers are members of The Surrey Association of Church Bell Ringers. Their website has much more information about bells and bell ringing in Surrey.