Bell Ringing and the Tower

Nantwich Bells – The Sixth

Welcome to the top level page about Bell Ringing and the Tower at Nantwich, where you can learn a bit about the Nantwich Bell Ringers and what they get up to in the Tower. You will also find an invitation to learn about what it takes to become a bell ringer. Contact information is tucked away at the bottom of this page.

Covid-19 and Bell Ringing

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected Church Bell Ringing everywhere. To enable us to resume some level of bell ringing for services at Nantwich safely, we have had to make a number of changes to our bell ringing environment and processes.

Sadly, this means we cannot welcome visitors to the tower at any time (including visiting ringers) and we are unable to teach new learners or, indeed, practise at all.

An article describing what has been done to enable us to resume ringing safely can be found here: Church Bell Ringing: Performing with Covid-19. Red text below indicates temporary changes from the “old normal” situation.

19/10/2020 Whilst Nantwich is at a Tier 2 (or above) Covid-19 alert level, ringing is limited to two bells being rung by ringers from the same household.
13/03/2021 Service ringing has been suspended whilst public services in church have been suspended. Ringing for services will resume after the public services in church have resumed. It is likely this will follow a cautious phased approach taking into account government rules, national ringing rules, and local discussion and risk assessments, to mitigate the risks of spreading Covid-19 amongst the ringers and their contacts.

The following information may be found on additional pages:

Details of the Bells
There are eight bells in the tower. For more information about these bells (dates, inscriptions, weights, etc.), please click: Details of the Bells.
Sounds of the Bells
To hear the bells being rung in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons, please click: Sounds of the Bells. Here is a snippet to whet your appetite:
An Exploration of the Church Clocks
To read about the present church clock and its possible predecessors, please click: The Church Clocks.

The ringers are also putting together some additional information covering:

  • the History of the Bells at Nantwich
  • some Local Ringers through the Ages
  • an Introduction to Church Bell Ringing
  • the History and Structure of the Tower and the Roof Spaces at Nantwich

These will be linked from here when ready and a notification of their publication will be provided in the newsletter.

The Nantwich Bell Ringers

Some Nantwich Ringers Ringing!

The Nantwich Bell Ringers are a group of people from a wide variety of stages and walks of life. They range from students studying at local schools to folk eligible to study at the University of the Third Age, and include some who work for their living. In normal times, the ringers are always happy to welcome visitors to the tower, whether they be ringers from elsewhere or local people interested in seeing what goes on in the tower; their lair is the Ringing Chamber which is located about level with the clerestory (the top layer of windows on the church).

In normal times, the ringers practise on a Thursday evening from 7pm to 9pm, and they ring for services twice on Sundays and occasionally at other times during the week.

Nantwich Competition Band, March 2019

Many of the ringers are members of the Chester Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers (to which the tower is affiliated) and they also participate in ringing events both locally and further afield. From time to time they ring together to celebrate or commemorate notable events, and they even ring just for the joy and challenge of ringing well together as a team (the photo to the right shows the band who rang in a Striking Competition at Warmingham in March 2019).

The ringing you will hear ranges from Rounds and Call Changes to Method Ringing.

The Methods rung (in normal times) frequently include:

  • Plain Bob Doubles, Minor, Triples & Major
  • Grandsire Doubles & Triples
  • Single Oxford Bob Triples
  • Stedman Doubles & Triples

On occasions, the ringing may include some Surprise Methods, but these more intricate methods usually require some help from visiting ringers.

Learning to Ring

Paul being taught to ring on a training day

Let’s assume you’ve read the bit above about the Nantwich bell ringers and you are [still!] interested in what’s involved in becoming a bell ringer.

We are there to help you; we can explain and demonstrate how you may learn to ring (naturally this involves having a go under trained supervision) and inform you about the benefits that may be gained. You may have questions: how old or how strong do you have to be…?; do you need to be musical, a churchgoer, a descendant of Quasimodo…? Well, rather than try to answer all these here, have a look at an article called Sonnez les matines! written for the This Month magazine by Fanny, one or our recent recruits. Fanny, as you may have guessed, is French and knew nothing of English Church Bell Ringing until she moved into a flat less than 200 yards from the tower!

Paul, our Curate, also joined the ringers recently. Having attended a training day in February 2020, he wrote an article for the This Month magazine called Ding Dong Merrily on High! This will give you some insight into one of our teaching methods. The photo above right shows Paul being taught to ring the backstroke by Nicola.

Having got this far, and perhaps having read of Fanny and Paul’s experiences, the best thing for you to do now is to get in touch with us (see below) and we can arrange to meet you in the tower and “show you the ropes” (yes, I know, the old one’s are not always the best!).

Safeguarding

All of our processes and activities have a strong focus on safeguarding, so if you are lucky enough to be under the age of 18 you will need to bring a parent with you on your first visit to the tower (we can put them to the rope too!).

Other Activities Performed by the Ringers

Other activities that occupy some of the ringers’ time include:

Winding the Clock
The Bell Ringers also look after the church clock, which was installed in 1892 and is still wound by hand twice a week. An article about the clock and its possible predecessors can be found by clicking: The Church Clocks.
Flying the Flag
The Bell Ringers also fly various flags from the top of the tower on notable occasions. An article about this can be found by clicking: Flying the Flag.

Contact Information

Please see note above about visitor restriction during the Covid-19 pandemic.

If you would like to visit the tower, explore learning to ring, or to find out more, please make contact via:

Mary Stanwell
41 Welsh Row
Nantwich
CW5 5EW
Phone: 01270 628900
Email: marystanwell@waitrose.com

We may also be contacted through the Parish Office.

Revisions:

20/10/2020 Initial publication (major revision to previous page).
13/03/2021 Updated Covid-19 information; introduced lower-resolution images in the main page (to reduce page loading time) and added image titles and links to higher resolution images; typographical and other minor structural changes.