Following the death of Diana, Princess of
Wales, a suggestion was made in the correspondence columns of
The Ringing World that the Central Council should publish advice
on the various forms of commemorative ringing and the circumstances
in which they are appropriate. The Hon. Secretary of the Council
invited readers for information on this topic and on current local
customs. The following notes and suggestions were compiled with
the help of the responses received. It was stressed that they
were offered as suggestions only; they were not intended in any
way to replace local customs.
- Before any form of commemorative ringing
takes place, the local incumbent should be consulted as to its
nature and timing.
Commemorative ringing is normally undertaken
with the bells half-muffled, open at handstroke. As a general
rule, odd-bell methods should be rung (ie. with the tenor behind).
In some places it is the custom to leave the tenor unmuffled.
This can be effective, and is particularly appropriate if half-muffled
ringing is to take place after a funeral service prior to which
the tenor is to be tolled (see 4. below).
The effect of half-muffled ringing, with
or without the tenor muffled, can be enhanced by:
Many ringers feel that the tolling of
a single bell (the tenor or a bourdon bell) for a period before
the funeral or memorial service, at the church where the service
is taking place, is very effective and is more appropriate at
this time than muffled ringing, which could take place after
the service. The single bell should not be muffled and should
be rung slowly at intervals of, say, 30 seconds or one minute.
Fully muffled ringing is very rare and
should be undertaken, if at all, only on the death of the sovereign
or of someone of oustanding local importance.
The custom of ringing half-muffled on
Remembrance Sunday is widely practised.
Muffled ringing on other Sundays during
a period of national or local mourning is approved by some clergy,
but not by others. The advice of the incumbent must be taken
on this point.
Practices are best avoided when the bells
are muffled. If a practice is to be held during a period of national
or local mourning, it may be better to cancel it. If in doubt,
the incumbent should decide.
In some places it is the custom on New
Year's Eve to ring the bells half-muffled up to midnight and
Muffled ringing must be well-struck to
be effective. Thus whatever form of muffled ringing is undertaken
it should be well within the capabilities of the band; 3. and
4. above in particular require good bell control by all concerned.
The effect of muffled ringing, however
well-struck, is spoilt if a muffle becomes loose and any of the
bells begin to strike open. Every effort should be made to ensure
that muffles are securely fastened to the clappers and will not
move in the course of ringing.
For safety reasons, muffles should not
be fitted or removed while bells are up.
- the 'whole pull and stand' style, in which
a whole pull of rounds is followed by a whole pull on the tenor
alone, repeated a number of times (ie: 123456, 123456, 6, 6,123456,
123456, 6, 6, etc.);
- at the end of the ringing, setting one
bell at a time from the front, thus gradually reducing the numbers
of bells ringing until the tenor is ringing alone; and
- method ringing in whole pulls, provided
that the band is sufficiently competent to do this without error.
Any comments on this advice or information
about local customs would be welcome, and should be sent to the
Editor of The Ringing World or to the Hon. Secretary of the Council.
Derived from an article published in The Ringing World 4570 (27/12/98)/ 1154