Bellringing

 

Bells @ St. John's 

The Bells
The tower of St Johns houses a ring of eight bells hung for full circle change ringing and tuned to the key of E. The bells are rung for approximately 45 mins before the main Sunday morning and evening services, for other special occasions, and for weddings and funerals by request. 

The history of St John’s bells before 1811 is unclear, but it is known that in that year the six existing bells were recast and augmented to eight by Thomas Mears II of Whitechapel. At this time the bells were hung in a wooden frame. 

In 1936 the treble was found to have a crack in it and was recast by Taylors of Loughborough. At the same time the rest of the bells were retuned and rehung in an iron frame, also by Taylors. These are the bells that we ring today. They range in weight from 664 lbs (301kg) to 1,782 lbs (808 kg).

Details of the bells (Dove’s Guide)

Video of the bells being rung by the local team

Bell Ringers

The bells are rung by an enthusiastic local team of eighteen ringers, which includes a number of young people, several of who have used bell ringing to achieve their Duke of Edinburgh’s award!

The main practice night for the band is Friday from 7.30pm to 9.00pm, but we also hold training sessions at other times, by arrangement. Our team also helps out with ringing at St Mary’s, Old Alresford.

If you are interested in joining the band or learning to ring, or would just like to see the bells being rung, please contact the tower Secretary,  Elizabeth Johnson, t. 01962 733266 email: alresford.ringers@bellringing.co.uk
 
Visiting ringers are warmly welcomed, but would be advised to check with the tower captain before travelling, just to ensure practice is on. 

Some members of the New Alresford Band with the Charmborough Ring

Want to Learn to Ring?

Bell ringing is well within the capabilities of most people. If you can count you have all the maths you will need, and the only musical knowledge required is a sense of timing. 

The initial teaching takes between six and eight one-hour lessons, after which you can begin to ring with the rest of the band. For many people, ringing is a great hobby that allows them to meet friendly new people. It provides a lifelong learning experience and helps to maintain a traditional skill. As well as providing gentle physical exercise, it is a great mental workout. 

Once you have learned the basic technique you will always be made welcome when you visit other towers. There are more than 6,000 towers in the world hung for English style ‘change-ringing’, so lots of interesting places to visit. 

Our team works with other towers in the Deanery to train new ringers, through the Alresford School of Bellringing. Our instructors are members of the Association of Ringing Teachers, and meet CofE safeguarding requirements, so you are in expert hands. We also have a computer simulator and dumb training bell which enables us to speed up the learning process and hold practices without the bells making a sound outside the tower.

Discover Bell Ringing – Campanology, art of change ringing, learn to ring

Handbells

Although our tower bells are suitable for people over the age of about 11 (school year 7), our team also has access to a 2½ octave set of handbells for tune ringing, and we have support from the Handbell Ringers of Great Britain.
 
We are particularly keen to use these with young people’s groups in the Alresford area. Handbells are a very good way of teaching music. Everyone rings just two of the notes, so it teaches you to play in time with the rest of the team. 
 
If you would like to find out more, or would like to arrange a taster session for your group, contact Roger Booth alresford.ringers@bellringing.co.uk
 
There is also an active team who practice change-ringing on handbells, using the patterns or ‘methods’ that we ring on tower bells. New Alresford is one of the main centres of change-ringing on handbells in Hampshire. For further details contact Ian Redway alresford.ringers@bellringing.co.uk
 
A list of our performances on tower bells and handbells can be found on Bellboard.
 

The Charmborough Ring

One of our ringers also owns the Charmborough Ring, a portable bell tower that is used at events across Hampshire and further afield. These bells are fun to ring and always attract a lot of attention.
 

Bells @ St. Mary's  

The Bells

The tower of St Mary’s houses a ring of six bells hung for full circle change ringing and tuned to the key of G. The bells are rung for approximately 45 mins before the main Sunday morning and service once or twice a month, for other special occasions, and for weddings and funerals by request. 

The six existing bells were cast by Pack and Chapman at the Whitechapel Bellfoundry in 1761 and are one of the oldest complete rings of six in Hampshire. There were rehung in a new metal frame when major repairs were carried out on the tower about fifty years ago.
 
These bells range in weight from 489 lbs (221kg) to 1,129 lbs (508 kg), so are a good weight for less experienced ringers.

Details of the bells (Doves Guide)
 

Video of the bells being rung