Church bellringing can be a very rewarding pastime. It combines a unique blend of mental and physical prowess and fosters a great camaraderie, plus there's lots of other social occasions like tower tours, quiz nights, treasure hunts, and of course the pub after practices! The only real requirement necessary to learn the art of campanology is to be able to count to six or eight and back at a steady pace. You don't need to be Einstein, musical knowledge is not a necessity and neither are Schwartzenegger-sized muscles! Anyone from the age of about 12 onwards can learn to ring church bells competently, some are even younger. Best of all it's FREE!
Once you have been taught one-on-one how to control a bell and ring on your own, you will progress to ringing with other people, at first in "rounds" (ringing the bells in tonal sequence). By this time you will have probably been bitten by the bellringing bug - maybe one from our tower! - and will go on to ring called changes (where the conductor changes the order of the bells regularly while ringing). In most parts of the country, once you can manage called changes and rounds you'll make a start on method ringing (methods are what ringers call tunes, though they are based more around mathematics than music). There are so many of these that it would take a lifetime to master even a modest selection of them - no one ever really stops learning the Exercise, you can take it as far as you wish.
Guide to learning to ring
John Sturdy's extensive site provides a much more detailed introduction to bellringing.
Glossary of ringing terms
Also by John Sturdy, this is a comprehensive A to Z description of most ringing topics.
History of change ringing
This American site has some interesting information on origins of change ringing, including a few nice pictures.
If you would like to have a go at bellringing please e-mail the who will try to find the contact details for someone in your area. Alternatively, if you would like to have a ring or maybe even start learning seriously at Colne, please and we'll try to sort something out for you. Why not have a go and be part of a centuries-old English tradition?