A TEAM of local bellringers are all set to show people the ropes as they take part in this year’s Heritage Open Days celebrations for the very first time.
The bellringers of St Leonard’s Church in Beoley will be giving people the chance to watch, learn, and even have a go at handling a bell themselves on Thursday, September 8 between 7.30pm and 9pm.
On Saturday September 10 between 12 and 2pm there will also be a chance to visit the bell tower at Beoley and see the bells, but visitors are warned it involves climbing a spiral stone staircase with 50 narrow steps. Visitors can view displays, ask questions and find out how they can get involved.
Bell ringing is in the spotlight this year for Heritage Open Days – a celebration of England’s culture and architecture which runs between September 8 and 11. Bellringers across the country will be helping tell the story of the 400-year old tradition of English-style change ringing.
The tradition of change ringing is a unique form of music which has its roots in England. Instead of ‘tunes’, the bells ring in orderly sequences that the ringers learn as patterns, and then ring from memory.
Ringers control the bell with a rope, while the bell turns full circle, mounted on a wheel. Famous people who are reported to have rung bells include comedians Victoria Wood, Jo Brand and Timmy Mallett, gardener Alan Titchmarsh and entertainer and writer Frank Muir.
Heritage Open Days is the largest heritage festival in the country; in 2015, over 4,800 events welcomed around three million visitors across England. Heritage Open Days operates as part of the National Trust with funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Every single Heritage Open Days event is free, including access to many sites that usually charge for admission. For details and opening times, visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk .