Getting the bells and tower fit for ringing
Care of Bells and Belfries
Making ringers welcome and comfortable
Getting ready to inspect and maintain bells
Looking after ringing rooms and access
Maintaining bells and their fittings
These videos were prepared by Tom Ridgman, Ely Diocesan Bells Adviser, and originally presented by Tom as a single one-hour session to the Association and we are grateful to them for their permission to reuse this material.
Top Ten Tips
Permission and preliminaries
Discuss preparations for ringing with the Incumbent and Church Officers. Get their agreement, ideally in writing, or in meeting minutes.
Health & Safety, Risk Assessments, Safeguarding, Insurance, other
relevant policies, electrical (PAT), lightning conductor.
– Tower Operation tab. More information from the CCCBR The team
Churchwarden or relevant member of the church authorities.
Ringer competent to undertake tower checks and maintenance.
What to prepare
Suitable protective clothing, lights, keys, functional mobile phone, note pad and pens, camera, chalk.
Record all checks and observations, plus recommended actions Check things may have changed since the last ringing
External visual appearance of tower, louvres, windows, lightning conductor, flag pole.
Ground floor, access ways, intermediate chambers, ringing room, bell chamber, roof.
Are stairs, ladders, trap doors, floors still safe and secure?
Are the bells down?
Evidence of any changes – damp or water leaks, unauthorised access by people.
Animal / vermin entry – birds, squirrels, bats, mice, rats, flies etc.
Physical disturbance or damage –equipment, tools, materials left, wind damage, louvres and items displaced or broken.
Clock – stopped, weights bottomed out, links broken, hammers on / off bells.
Bell installation checks
Clock hammers, mechanism and weights.
Whole bell installation (displace each movable item by hand slightly).
Clappers, wheels, sliders, stays, bearing.
Ropes, rope path, pulleys.
– Tower Infrastructure tab. More information from the CCCBR Silence each bell so clapper does not strike
Ring up each individual bell carefully – IF all appears
SAFE AND SOUND. Ring down each bell and recheck in bell chamber Overall environment
Tidy up, remove out of date notices, biscuits, chocolates and rubbish.
Prepare for welcoming back ringers.
Plan remedial actions (get permission).
Plan the first ringing with a band, capable of judging that all is well when they ring.
Plan future recruitment, refresher sessions, celebration ringing and events.
Inform neighbours and parish – a media opportunity.
Patrons: Paul Flavell, Helen McGregor, Peter Bevis, Len Roberts and Eileen Butler, in memory of her late husband Bruce.
© Association of Ringing Teachers 2022