Sunday, 7 March 2010

Ham House Diaries - Bell Ringing

As a follow up to our meeting with the bell ringers, we were invited to go along to one of their meetings and see what they did. Myself, Hannah, Rachel and Sarah ventured off to All Hallows Church, Twickenham on Tuesday evening and climbed the tower to the bells. Stephen, the chairman spoke about the church - built by Sir Christopher Wren, its original home was Lombard Street in central London, however the congregation became very small due to the large amount of churches in the area. There was a high demand for churches outside of the city, especially in Twickenham and the surrounding areas and so the church was taken down and rebuilt brick by brick right here in Twickenham. The bells were also moved from the original site and we were able to climb higher to see them, up a tiny ladder which was a bit nerve racking. There are 10 bells in the church and when we got back down the other ringers had arrived and demonstrated the sound of all of them ringing together. They warned us before hand that the tower would move!! This was not them exaggerating how good they were... no the tower actually swayed when the bells rang!!!! Not the greatest feeling in the world when you are very high up and the only exit is down narrow, spiral, stone steps!!!
Anyway, once we got over the initial panic, we sat back and listened to the ringing - it was like a different language when they were calling out numbers and sequences. I never realised how complicated it was. We were given a go - i must admit i was slightly apprehensive at the thought of forgetting to let go and flying off into the roof! However it was actually quite fun, we only rang for a few seconds and my arms hurt so i can't imagine how they must feel at the end of the night.
It was a really lovely evening and we had the opportunity to meet the group and get to know them. They were really interested in the project and we spoke a bit more about it to them. There is an opportunity for more people to go next week, and i hope that they all do. It was a really interesting night and quite unexpected. I hope that meetings with the other groups go as well and we can start to build a lasting relationship with them.

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